Trends come and go. It’s whats part of fashion. But who knew that the clothing we wear everyday could have such a big impact on our environment today.
What do we do with old clothing or clothes that are too small for us? Probably give to younger siblings, someone else or donate it. Today fashion trends change like the speed of light. One minute it’s hoodies and leggings, the next it’s jeans and denim.
We call this fast fashion, where the clothing items are inexpensive and widely available for of-the-moment-clothing items. This has changed for how people would buy and dispose clothing, especially for the younger generation of today, always wanting to be in styles as well as being able to afford it all. For the teens it’s kind of a win-win situation. They get more quantity of clothing for less cost.
However, have we every thought of the consequences that would effect our environmental health to people who work in the textiles manufactures and waste in landfill? The people who work or live near the textiles manufacturing facilities are exposed to environmental health hazards. Also there have been large increase of the amount of textiles waste in landfills and other uncommon places because of the quantity of increase of consumers.
Globally, 80 billion pieces of new clothing are purchased each year which equals to around $1.2 trillion annually for the global fashion industry.
The majority of these products are assembled in China and Bangladesh, however 85 per cent of the clothing consumed which is nearly 3.8 billion pounds annually is sent to landfills as solid waste.
The social cost involved in the production of fast fashion includes damages to the environment, human health and human rights at each step along the production chain. The global environment justice is working on innovation in textiles development, trade policy and consumers habits. Consumers can do their part by helping the global environmental justice by buying more quality clothing that last longer, shopping at second-hand stores, repairing clothing they already own, and purchasing from retailers with transparent supply chains.
Editor’s note: Writing 11 students of Walnut Grove Secondaryteacher Vince Rahn were tasked with opinion writing, finding it’s more difficult to put down reasoned arguments than simply tossing out cliches or venting.
“They were able to choose any current relevant topic,” Rahn explained.
Students were graded based on how they presented their information and arguments. The assignment also included having to hand write the pieces and send them to the Langley Advance Times via snail mail, an experience fewer and fewer young people have nowadays. It mirrors an assignment he gave to his students many years ago, before the internet and social media.
“Yes, I have done this quite some time ago, but this time I insisted that they go ‘old school’ and put into an envelope with a cover letter, etc.,” he explained.
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