The purpose of publishing this post is to make the reader mindful of the intense amount of toxic materials that go into clothing production as well as the natural resources that are tarnished or entirely depleted for the sake of clothing production. Ironically, the resulting clothing then ends up in a landfill. 

We want to acknowledge that there are inefficiencies and externalities when secondhand clothes are revamped. In washing, in repackaging, in shipping and transporting, etc. But those externalities do not even compare with consequences brought on by inciting new production.

And we'll admit, we have all fallen susceptible to buying brand new products made from new inputs. And we likely all will again. But improving our purchasing decisions progressively, one item at a time, is the only way we can improve the current state of the relationship between fashion and the environment.

Anyway, here is a non-exhaustive list proving that fashion is bad, for a lack of better words.


1. The equivalent of 1 garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second.

2. 92 million tonnes of textile waste is produced every year. By 2030, it’s expected that fashion waste will increase to a 148 million ton problem.

3. The average US consumer throws away 81.5 lbs of clothes every year.

4. Fast fashion brands are producing 2 times the amount of clothes today than in 2000, while the number of times a garment is worn has declined by around 36% in 15 years.

5. 87% of donated clothing ends up in landfills.



1. Over 150 million trees are logged and turned into fabric every year. If placed end to end, these trees would circle our earth’s equator 7 times over.

2. It takes about 700 gallons of water to produce 1 cotton shirt. That's enough water for 1 person to drink at least 8 cups per day for 3 1/2 years.

3. It takes about 2,000 gallons of water to produce 1 pair of jeans. That's more than enough for 1 person to drink 8 cups per day for 10 years.

4. Some 93 billion cubic meters of water – enough to meet the needs of 5 million people – is used by the fashion industry annually, contributing significantly to water scarcity in some regions.



1. Approximately 60% of all materials used by the fashion industry are polyester, which is a plastic made from petroleum, a crude oil derivative and non-renewable resource.  

2. Nearly 10% of microplastics dispersed in the ocean each year come from textiles.

3. 500,000 tons of microfibers are released into the ocean each year from washing clothes — the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles.

4. About 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used in the fashion manufacturing process, yet only 16 are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.

5. Cotton uses 24% and 11% of the world’s insecticides and pesticides, respectively, consuming 8 million tonnes of synthetic fertilizers and 200,000 tonnes of pesticides globally every year. Cotton also uses 4% of the world’s artificial phosphorus and nitrogen fertilizers. 

6. Out of the top 10 pesticides used in cotton farming in 2017, glyphosate, diuron, and tribufos are considered human carcinogens. The rest are potential endocrine disruptors and toxic to bees. FYI– all of these toxins end up on your clothes, in the soil, in the groundwater, in runoff water leading to rivers, and in animals and insects.



1. The fashion industry is responsible for 8-10% of humanity’s carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. If the fashion sector continues on its current trajectory, that share of the carbon budget could jump to 26% by 2050.

2. The apparel industry’s global emissions will increase by 50% by 2030.

3. Around 20% of industrial wastewater pollution worldwide originates from the fashion industry.


 Dyes from textiles in the ocean. Photo from Greenpeace. 




(2023, October 6). Environmental Sustainability in the Fashion Industry. Geneva Environment Network. Retrieved from 

(2023, July 30) Fashion for the Earth. Earth Day. Retrieved from 

Igini, Martina. (2023, August 21). 10 Concerning Fast Fashion Waste Statistics. Earth.Org. Retrieved from 

Koonin, Amy. (2023, February 6). 14 Facts about Sustainable Fashion. Rubicon. Retrieved from 

Le, Ngan. (2020, July 20). The Impact of Fast Fashion on the Environment - PSCI. Princeton University, The Trustees of Princeton University. Retrieved from 

Okafor, J. (2022, June 2). Environmental Impact of Cotton. TRVST.

Sullivan, E., & Carr, A. (2019, January 1). Fashion's Impact on Our Forests. Canopy Planet.,turned%20into%20fabric%20every%20year.