The impact of fast-fashion on the environment

The clothing industry, particularly fast-fashion, is the second most polluting in the world, after the petroleum industry. Difficult to realize that the contents of our closet can have as much impact on our planet.

The reason is that fast-fashion multinationals, which release new models every week at low prices. They exploit workers from the most disadvantaged countries and manufacture their products using extremely polluting processes.

What exactly is fast-fashion ? What is its impact on the environment ? Which solutions exist to reduce your closet’s ecological footprint ? Minuit sur Terre’s team tells you everything 😉

Time Square New York

What is fast-fashion ?

Fast-fashion, characterizes the very rapid renewal of collections at low-cost made by fashion giants. New pieces are thus offered each week in stores in the biggest brands. This is equivalent to 52 new collections per year, instead of the 4 collections traditionally offered by fashion houses. The production chain is very fast. Less than a month elapses between the design of the garment and its sale in shops. Trends born in the streets or from fashion shows can therefore be quickly exploited and marketed.

These garments are also intended to be worn over a very short period of time. They are made with materials at low prices and therefore not very solid and qualitative. Consumers are thus urged to renew their wardrobe very often and to make purchases regularly. They have to keep up with the intense pace of collection release.

The environmental disaster of the textile industry

100 billion items of clothing are sold worldwide each year. The world’s second largest source of pollution, emits 1.2 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases each year, or 2% of total emissions. 4% of the world’s drinking water is used to produce our clothes.

Production of raw materials

The production of materials requires the massive exploitation of non-renewable resources. It also means water and chemicals for cultivating the soil and feeding animals raised for their leather or wool. With each wash, synthetic clothing releases plastic microparticles which are released into the oceans. Cotton is also the main pesticide consuming crop in the world and its production requires large volumes of fresh water.

As you know, Minuit sur Terre is a vegan brand, using no animal products.

polluting factory

Intensive clothing manufacturing

After production, there comes manufacturing. “Made in China”, whose production costs became “too high” for multinationals following the increase in wages, was replaced by “made in Bangladesh”, where wages are the lowest in the world, and “made in Pakistan”. Workers conditions are deplorable and workplace accidents more frequent. The level of security is much lower than in European countries.

The chemical processes used to make clothes, such as dyeing or washing jeans, also have a negative impact on workers’ health and the environment. 20% of the world’s water pollution is thought to be due to the dyeing and processing of textiles.

Clothes shipping

As the manufacturing of clothing is outsourced by multinationals, the clothing is transported over long distances, quickly to supply the very large number of brands and allow immediate marketing of the items. Air is the most used mode of transport, but also one of the most polluting modes of transport in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

The environmental impact is harmful until the last use. As the materials used are not very solid, a large part of the clothing produced is quickly thrown away. Every year in Europe, 4 million tonnes of textiles are thrown away, 80% of which is thrown away with household waste and ends up being buried or incinerated. 10% of the clothing is sold second-hand and worn again and the remaining 10% is recycled.

Some means to reduce you impact

It’s not easy to face the huge mess caused by our fashion consumption habits … and difficult not to be tempted by the new products on the market and the low prices when we like to dress up ! But this is not inevitable : another fashion lifestyle, more respectful of the environment, of men and animals, is possible. This is what we try to prove every day with Minuit sur Terre.

To go deeper in a sustainable approach, we decided to take charge of the second life of our products and to facilitate the second-hand purchase of Minuit sur Terre’s articles by creating our platform, L’Aurore. It allows you to order used models, redeemed from our customers against a purchase order, or prototypes or pairs with micro manufacturing defects, that cannot be sold on Minuit sur Terre’s e-store. We are trying to give a second life to our products, but also to make them more accessible by selling them at reduced prices.

To help you make the right choice, we have also put in place a free guide to a responsible dressing : Ethical fashion, User manual ! What materials should you choose ? Which manufacturing locations should be favored ? Which labels and which brands to trust? Our team guides you!