If the average life of clothes could be extended by just nine months it could reduce carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30%. – Leigh Mapledoram , Program Area Manager, Wrap UK
Fashion Industry Statistics
- The global apparel market is valued at 3 trillion dollars, 3,000 billion, and accounts for 2 percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).1
- Almost 75% of the world’s fashion market is concentrated in Europe, USA, China and Japan.2
- Second to oil, the clothing and textile industry is the largest polluter in the world.3
- The US is the largest importer of garments in the world; nearly 40% of apparel products sold in the US are imported from China.2
- It takes more than 5,000 gallons of water to manufacture just a T-shirt and a pair of jeans. 3
- Textile industry is one of the top 3 water wasting industry in China, discharging over 2.5 billion tons of wastewater every year.2
- NPR reports, from the Environmental Protection Agency, that 15.1 million tons of textile waste was generated in 2013, of which 12.8 million tons were discarded.
- About 15% of fabric intended for clothing ends up on the cutting room floor. This waste rate has been tolerated
industry-wide for decades.4
- According to Christina Dean, Redress, waste generated in China is not known, with estimates that China will soon make 50% of the world’s clothing – the indications for textile waste there are mind-blowing. Daily in Hong Kong, there are 253 tons of textiles sent to landfill.
- Consumers throw away shoes and clothing [versus recycle], an average of 70 pounds per person, annually. 5
- While, a few communities have textile recycling programs, about 85% of this waste goes to landfills where it occupies about 5% of landfill space and the amount is growing. 5
- Up to 95% of the textiles that are landfilled each year could be recycled. 7
- Landfill space is expensive and hard to find. 5
- Using recycled cotton saves 20,000 liters of water per kilogram of cotton, a water-intensive crop.8
- The U. S. is the largest exporter of secondhand clothing. It exports over a billion pounds of used clothing every year.6
- Over 70% of the world’s population use second hand clothes.7
- Consumers in the United Kingdom have an estimated $46.7 billion worth of unworn clothes in their closets. 2
- Timo Rissanen, “From 15% to 0: Investigating the creation of fashion without the creation of fabric waste,” Presenter, Kreativ Institut for Design og Teknologi, September 2005.
- http://www.smartasn.org/ | Secondary Materials and Recycling Textiles [SMART]
- Textile Exchange Fast Facts – textile-product waste-fast-facts, PDF.
- Redress | The Positive Power of Fashion
Feature Image: Recycling International