Waste Observation: Fast fashion discards pile up like mountains in the south of the world

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Author: Jerri-Lynn Scofield, he has served as a securities lawyer and derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile craftsmen.

It has been several months since I last wrote about the global costs caused by the popularity of “fast fashion”-cheap clothes are thrown away after only a few wears to make way for new items in the closet. In recent years, the industry has exploded, despite the changes in the workplace following the COVID pandemic, The latest research I have seen shows that fast fashion will continue to grow.

If readers can see me now, they will realize that I am far from the typical representative of fast fashion. One advantage of being a writer is that a person can wear whatever clothes he likes while working.

When I am in India, I wear Indian clothing. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost, traditional Indian clothing is very suitable for the climate. I don’t understand why the British insist on wearing heavy western clothing in the hot and humid subcontinent climate—even Indians (and others) who wear more suitable Indian cotton cloth in clubs and other public places are prohibited.

For daily wear, I usually wear Salwar Kameez. This Indian-style trouser suit includes a tunic, Indian trousers — I started to prefer a large patio — it barely crosses the body, but I sometimes wear the calf and ankle to hug the churidor. On top of these two clothes is a dupatta-a large rectangular dress, the size is between a simple scarf and a shawl over my shoulder. If I enter a mosque or temple, I can use it to cover my head and protect myself from sunlight or wind and dust at other times. Wrap the fabric around my head and cover my eyes. If I find myself on a long train, bus or car trip, I can easily fall asleep. I prefer natural fibers-fine Indian cotton, sometimes silk, but never man-made fibers.

The second reason I wear Indian-style clothing is to show people I met in the process of researching my textile books that I have an understanding of Indian textile traditions. Another benefit is that buying Indian fabrics (or dupattas) or ready-made garments from textile craftsmen is one way I support their work.

For more sophisticated occasions, I already know to wear a saree. I can wear saris-Indians tell me I do quite well-but there is always a warning-“For foreigners”. But I have not mastered the art of draping. So I can wear a saree, but I can’t wear myself completely. no problem. There are always some Indian female friends or acquaintances who are happy to help me put on and don’t wear saris.

In New York, especially in these COVID eras that keep a distance from society, I am not so picky about my dress. At the moment, I am wearing a tattered maroon sweatshirt-circa 1977. One day, when I was preparing to save the score book in a high school baseball game, Newton High School Sports Director Art Disk gave me this. On that cold spring day, there was nothing to keep me warm. I like to keep warm, so when the sweatshirt is in the laundry basket, I will choose a worn-out cotton flannel or denim shirt and pair it with a heavy sweater that I have accumulated during my travels, or a sweater knitted by my mother. All of these are at least several decades old, and because of their high quality and I stored them carefully, they should be able to continue to be used for many years. I also have all kinds of wool when I ski-it always reminds me of my friend Tricia, who pointed out that in Whistler, “we have wool and dress wool”. indeed. Made of superfine fibers. This kind of wool-whether refined or not-is eternal.

This is the care of the upper echelons. As for the rest of my ensemble? Heavy wool socks, natural. There are also bottoms, which my husband calls “Rupert Bear” pants. The rotation of flannel, pajamas, or sweatpants is on the loudest plaid I can find.

Don’t say that I treat my clothes as disposable. Or anyone would describe me as a fashion victim.

Alas, the rest of the world has not followed my example, especially where one-off “fast fashion” is the norm. This cheap clothes can only be worn a few times and then thrown away. It is known for its poor workmanship. Although it looks cheap, its nominally cheap price contains huge environmental or other costs. First of all, people who make clothes are not paid as they are, and their working conditions are often shocking. As for the environmental impact, textile production involves a lot of water. Toxic chemicals are used for dyeing or manufacturing microplastic fibers that can be used permanently. We should not forget the carbon footprint, not only to make clothes, but also to ship them to destination markets around the world, where they will be sent back to their final disposal site after only a few wears.

COP26 results

To say the least, the results of the COP26 summit in Glasgow were not impressive. A huge gap has appeared between developed and developing countries. The parties cannot agree on measures that are clearly overdue — such as phasing out the use of coal — let alone address other pressing issues that contribute to global warming. These include broadly defined agricultural practices; steadily increasing plastic manufacturing; and expanding textile production, driven by the fast fashion industry.

According to “U.S. News and World Report”, How fashion quickly enters the global south:

In recent years, the fast fashion industry has boomed-Western countries are leading the world in consumption and second-hand clothing exports, and second-hand clothing is clogging developing countries and landfills.

One of the main points of contention at the UN Climate Conference, which ended this weekend in Glasgow, Scotland, was the gulf between rich and developing countries. Just as the divergence between the countries that power the economy through fossil fuels and the poor countries that are told that these fuels are now too dangerous for the planet, the fast fashion industry is exposing the difference between the rich and developing countries that export used clothes. Gap between. Become a country where textiles are dumped.

At present, the United States is a world leader in second-hand clothing exports. In 2018, the U.S. exported nearly 719 million kilograms (1.58 billion pounds) of second-hand clothing, which was more than 200 million kilograms higher than Germany’s. These exports eventually enter second-hand markets around the world, especially in the global south, and their speed and quantity are usually higher than the processing capacity of their recipients.

The U.S. News article contains some interesting graphs showing the sources of discarded clothing-the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea, China, and Japan top the list. Most of these old textiles are eventually shipped to Africa—in Kenya, Angola, Tunisia, Ghana, Tanzania, and Uganda—or Pakistan and India, accounting for six of the top 20 countries for second-hand clothing imports.

Many of these destination countries are tired of these textile exports. The quality of the clothes is so poor that no one wants them. In addition, dumping these textile wastes also distort domestic textile production, which is still the main source of employment in developing countries.

Those who have followed the course of U.S. trade policy in the past few decades – especially its impact on domestic employment in the United States – will not be surprised by the U.S. response to African countries’ efforts to insulate domestic textile producers from second-hand clothing. import. According to U.S. News and World Report:

While the resistance to Western clothing dumping took root in East Africa, the United States used its global influence and financial assistance to ensure that it could still export second-hand clothing to the African market.

In 2017, East African countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Burundi tried disuse Import second-hand clothing and shoes because they undermine domestic efforts to develop their own textile industry. These countries seek to ban these imports completely by 2019.

However, in March 2017, the Office of the United States Trade Representative threat Remove four of these six East African countries from the African Growth and Opportunity Act, a preferential trade agreement aimed at promoting trade and economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Burundi and South Sudan have been excluded from the trade agreement due to allegations of national violence.

What is to be done?

Many Americans and other fast fashion consumers just don’t understand the problems caused by their consumption. People in developing countries don’t think their old clothes are a boon. According to U.S. News and World Report:

[Sarah Bibbey, the co-founder and acting director of Make Fashion Clean, a non-profit organization working to make denim consumption more sustainable globally] Emphasizes the culture around clothing donation, which is part of the promotion of excessive consumption and clothing dumping in the United States, because consumers buy too many things and hope to donate their clothing in the future.

“People may hear that their clothes have arrived somewhere, and they may think that this is always a 100% good thing, because we have the mindset of an American savior here,” Bibi said. “We think this is a good thing, even if we see it in reality that it is bankrupting local artisans and local clothing manufacturers because they are in a sense competing with the influx of second-hand clothes.”

Consumers are not only or even primarily responsible for this problem. The fast fashion industry must be aware of the large amount of unnecessary and crappy clothing it produces. After all, constantly selling these products without interruption is the foundation of its business model. Therefore, a large part of the responsibility for correcting the problem must ultimately fall on fast fashion suppliers.

They seem unlikely to take action anytime soon. In order to change, government supervision is definitely necessary. Went to the U.S. News and World Report again:

Because of the unique intensity of Americans consuming and dumping clothes- News report Take, for example, the number of clothing purchased by Americans has increased 5 times in the past 30 years, and each item has been used only 7 times on average-the United States needs a unique solution to deal with the global fast fashion crisis.

Advocates say that as the UN Climate Conference draws to a close, it is imperative to propose solutions to these pressing environmental problems. Moreover, just as the responsibility for this crisis cannot be entirely attributed to consumers, environmental activists say that it is also necessary to seek solutions beyond the consumer level.

I must admit that the COP26 news from Glasgow made me feel endlessly frustrated. Global warming and other environmental crises facing the world are urgent and acute. Whether on the necessary scale or within the necessary time frame, our leaders seem to be unable to meet these challenges. Doing this properly and comprehensively will certainly go beyond well-known traffic emissions and electricity production issues, including some of the other issues I mentioned above-food, plastics, and fashion.

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