What’s really happening to our planet: Where does textile waste go?

Womens workwear: Where does textile waste go?

May 24, 2021

It’s not a topic that is talked about enough, and we believe it’s because it scares people. There are those things in life most people would rather turn a blind eye to. Not because they’re selfish or they don’t care, but simply because the entirety of the issue is too much to comprehend. The statistics surrounding textile waste and the damage it does to our environment and ocean can send any human mind into overdrive, but the facts are crucially important to know about. Once we have a better understanding of where our waste goes, the more power we have to make better choices for our planet.

Facts you may not have known

Textile dying is the second largest pollutant of our ocean. You wouldn’t think it but water from the dying process is often dumped into ditches, streams and river. Out of sight out of mind right? Sadly, it eliminates the life in those waters (such as fish, plants) and turns the water black, eventually leaving the area barren. To put it in perspective, textile dying uses enough water to fill 2 billion Olympic swimming pools per year. Mind blown.

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Most clothing ends up in landfill or burnt. Imagine one garbage truck of clothing being dumped every second. Every second. The number of textiles being recycled or reused is increasing however 85% of these are still going into landfill every year, which is enough to fill the Sydney Harbour.

When clothes are made from unsustainable materials such as Polyester, microfibres are released into the ocean every time we wash them. Plastic microfibers can’t be broken down and an estimated 500,000 tons end up in the ocean each year. This equivalates to 50 billion plastic bottles.

Another outstanding fact is how much water is used when creating just one item of clothing. For a cotton shirt an estimated 3250 litres of water is used (enough drinking water  for one person - for a year) and to make a pair of jeans a whopping 8183 litres of water! The textile industry is literally drying up the earths water supply.

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So what are we doing to help?

As a small business, we are always acting consciously and seeking ways to reduce our own textile waste. Even the features we use in our designs have been thought out from an environmentally sustainable point of view. We have the extendable waistbands on our pants, ensuring a better fit and a longer lasting wear. There’s our Cut-To-Fit hems by MAK Workwear which allows you to adjust the hem lengths of your pants. We trial different and more sustainable material options for our garments, making informed decisions on our choices. And the fact that we create quality workwear that lasts, over quick, cheap fashion is an impact reducing measure in itself.

Take on board these few simple steps to do your part…

  • Extend the life of your clothes by buying good quality items over quick and cheap fashion
  • Donate your clothes or shop second hand to further increase that lifespan
  • Buy organic cotton. It still uses a lot of water to make but reduces chemical pollution
  • Choose sustainable materials. Some to look out for are hemp, bamboo and lyocell

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