Crash Course on What Makes Apparel Not Friendly to Our Environment
With so much information out there, it can be hard to understand the apparel supply chain’s impact on environment. Below are some of the key issues you should know about.
The cotton apparel supply chain can have a significant impact on the environment, and there are several kinds of pollution, emissions, and resource consumption that you should be aware of.
The production of conventional cotton can have significant environmental impacts, including high water usage, chemical pollution from pesticides and fertilizers, and soil degradation. Organic cotton farming can help to mitigate these issues, but organic cotton is still a relatively small portion of the overall cotton supply.
Spinning and weaving
The spinning and weaving of cotton into fabric can require significant energy usage and can produce air and water pollution. Energy-efficient equipment and processes can help to reduce these impacts.
Dyeing and printing
The dyeing and printing of fabric can require large amounts of water and energy, and can produce wastewater that is contaminated with dyes and chemicals. Many companies are now using more sustainable dyeing and printing processes, such as digital printing, and are implementing water treatment systems to reduce pollution.
Cutting and sewing
The cutting and sewing of garments can produce waste fabric, and workers in the garment industry may face poor working conditions and low wages. Some companies are working to reduce waste and improve labor conditions through more sustainable production methods and worker empowerment initiatives.
Transportation and logistics
The transportation of raw materials, fabric, and finished garments can result in significant greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants. Companies can mitigate these impacts by optimizing their transportation networks and using more sustainable transportation methods, such as rail and ocean freight.
Retail and end-of-life
Retail and end-of-life stages of the garment supply chain can also have environmental impacts. The transportation of garments to stores, as well as the energy usage associated with retail operations, can result in greenhouse gas emissions. At the end of a garment’s life, it may be sent to a landfill, where it can contribute to pollution and waste. Companies and consumers can mitigate these impacts by implementing recycling and reuse programs, as well as choosing to purchase garments made from sustainable materials and produced using sustainable methods.
Overall, the garment supply chain can have significant environmental impacts, but there are many initiatives underway to reduce these impacts and increase sustainability throughout the supply chain. As a consumer, you can support these initiatives by choosing to purchase garments made from sustainable materials and produced using sustainable methods, and by supporting companies that are working to improve sustainability throughout their supply chains.