So, what the hell does Sustainability mean and why should it matter to me?
In not so many words sustainability is how processing of a product directly affects the environment. Such factors include:
- Direct environmental impact of facilities Ie: Water, water disposal etc
- Ethics of the manufacturer/production facilities
- Toxins and chemicals used in processing of materials
- Fibre production-types of fibres used
When I first started doing research for my company, sustainability wasn't really a big priority on my list. In fact, I didn't really know much about sustainability or just how badly the fashion industry impacted the environment. Here are some pretty un nerving facts:
- According to the Environmental Protection Agency 15.1 million tons of textile clothing waste was produced in 2013 alone
- 13 Million tonnes of clothing is thrown away in the US alone
- The textile industry is the second major freshwater polluter in the world.
- 1.2 Billion tons of CO2 is released into the atmosphere per year by the fast fashion industry.
- Synthetic polyester is used in about 60% of fashion today which is made from Fossil Fuels. That is roughly about 21.3 million Tonnes of polyester.
- Polyester is non biodegradable
- When Polyester is washed, micro-plastics are released into the water systems which in turn lead to pollution of water ways and oceans.
- Manufactured cottons contribute to agricultural pollution through excessive amounts of pesticide use and water consumption.
- Cotton manufactures use roughly about 16% of the worlds pesticides.
- Recycled Cotton uses roughly 10-20,000 gallons of water to produce a pair of jeans and roughly 3,000 gallons of water to produce one t-shirt.
Now, As a women in trades for the past 16 years, the last thing on my mind was whether or not I was participating in sustainability. Many industries will supply your work clothing and the the main industry I was in was Oil and Gas. Meaning, the required CSA approved PPE was garments that had Fire Retardant repellant soaked into the fabrics. Being in a somewhat dangerous industry all I was concerned about was whether or not my PPE would protect me if needed.
Truth be told, I would have never found out about this information had it not been for the research Ive been putting into House of Buxum. Wanting to create work wear specific to women of all shapes and sizes but then realized that there is a huge need to give back to the world and to do my part in being sustainable.
We are at a point where everyone needs to seriously look at how they live their lives and ask some serious questions about how they are contributing to the already plagued environmental problems. Whether its use of plastics, not recycling, or supporting major companies that produce products that contain chemicals. We are so precious and so many people are getting sick and ill with cancers and other degenerative diseases and many are asking why.
I for one know how hard it can be to not be ignorant in such chemically polluted industries saturated with disposable plastics and garbage. Oil and gas has taught me a lot about the person I want to become just by observing how the big contractors operate. Why is there still no recycling programs in place at the camps? Why are they not implementing plant based biodegradable products in kitchens? These "little" things are not so little when 60,000 people go through these camps each year and toss disposables in the garbage. Now add fashion to the list? It can be so overwhelming. So here are some simple, affordable tips on how to be more sustainable with your work wear. 10 simple steps to being more sustainable.
- Love Your Clothes
- Rental Fashion The Next Biggest Thing
- Global Organic Textiles Standard
- OEKO-TEX- Checking The Label
- OEKO-TEX- Buying Guide