Fast Fashion and the Environment

Fast fashion refers to clothes that cater to the latest trends while being available at low prices. That's the beauty of fast fashion: it allows the public to purchase inexpensive items to keep up with the latest fashion trends. Most people in today's society have a closet stock full of trendy clothes that are continuously replenished once a certain fad has faded. However, once those clothes are no longer trendy or simply become unwearable, they are often tossed in the trash, which in turn pollutes our landfills.

Fast fashion results in numerous harmful effects toward our environment. Clothes that are found in many popular retail stores are sold at low prices because of the materials used to create them. These clothes are created with man-made materials using synthetic fibers and inorganic substances. As a result, these clothes are unable to degrade naturally and continuously stockpile in landfills. Not only are these clothes unable to degrade, but man-made fibers like polyester require great amounts of oil for their production. The production from these inexpensive clothes releases harmful carbon emissions into the air which can cause respiratory problems. A large number of chemicals such as toxic dye also often get into the water sources near the factory plants. Moreover, the constant rate of shipping and transportation for these products has also caused an increase of nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere, due to the burning of fossil fuels. While fast fashion is without a doubt convenient and harmless to our bank accounts, it has taken a toll on the environment.

As consumers, we should look into what the effects are to ourselves and to society as a whole. Instead of tossing away clothes, take the time to donate them to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Millions of people don't have the luxury of spending money on a whim. By donating clothes that are no longer wanted, you help others and the environment. Another option is to look into spending a little more on items that are Eco-friendly or use organic fibers (organic cotton) which require less pesticides and irrigation. Although the cost won't be as inexpensive, the quality is substantially better which results in longevity. It is also said that natural materials are often better and more breathable for your skin. So the next time you're eying that low cost top, consider what materials were used to make such a product and whether its long term environmental effects are worth the price.

Written by: Youth Claudette

Source: Chau, Lisa. "The Wasteful Culture of Forever 21, H&M, and Fast Fashion". US

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