Two-thirds of garments made globally each year go to landfill – report

Two-thirds of garments made globally each year go to landfill – report

To put the amount of clothing the world is sending to landfill into graphic perspective: it’s equivalent to the height of the Eiffel Tower every 16 seconds.

Image: Pexels

If that’s not graphic enough, new analysis from childrenswear brand Five of Us reveals it would take less than a year for the amount of clothing that’s tossed into landfill to equal the distance to the moon.

Latest statistics reveal that of the 32 billion garments produced for the fashion industry each year, a huge 64% of these will end up in landfill. What’s more, 94 million kg worth of single-use outfits are bought every year with one in two people throwing away unwanted clothes directly into the bin instead of reselling them or giving them to charity. 

It noted that man-made fabrics, such as polyester and nylon, can take up to 200 years to break down in landfill. By comparison, linen takes two weeks to break down naturally but some other natural fibres can take years to decompose. 

In response, Five Of Us has created a visualised interactive page on its website that demonstrates just how much the fashion industry contributes to landfill each year. 

“Instead of reselling them or giving them to charity… it is estimated that the fashion industry (and its supply chain) is the planet’s third largest polluter after food and construction”, the report noted. 

A spokesperson from Five of Us said: “We don’t pretend to have the solution to the problem that is sustainability in the fashion industry, but we do believe that our “made to order” model is one responsible step in the right direction to reduce the problem of overproduction.” 

“We rarely talk about how children’s fashion contributes [to the problem]. We think one of the key areas missing in sustainability in [the] fashion conversation is educating the next generation on how to shop and consume with sustainability in mind.”

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