Sun, Feb 10, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Fast fashion needs to ‘slow down,’ Greenpeace says

Staff writer, with CNA

The rise of fast fashion has not only changed shopping habits, but also led to the creation of more waste as people are discarding clothes at twice the rate they did in 2000, Greenpeace Taiwan said.

People on average have 60 percent more clothing than 19 years ago, Greenpeace project manager Lo Ko-jung (羅可容) said in an interview, citing global data.

“What the data show, whether in Taiwan or globally, is that consumers are buying more clothes and discarding them faster,” Lo said.

That trend has increased the strain on the environment from the fashion industry, she said.

Clothing is made mostly from cotton or polyester fibers, she said, adding that polyester is a petrochemical product, while cotton cultivation requires huge amounts of water, land and pesticides.

The garment industry affects the environment because the production of synthetic fibers indirectly increases carbon emissions, while the disposal of clothing produces greenhouse gases.

“The damage to the environment can be reduced by shopping wisely and rationally,” she said.

A Greenpeace survey published in June 2016 said that Taiwanese aged 24 to 45 discarded at least 5.2 million items of clothing per year, or 9.9 pieces every minute.

Of the respondents, 54 percent said that they owned more clothes than they needed, while 72 percent said they owned new garments that they had never worn.

With the rise of fast fashion — inexpensive clothing produced rapidly in response to the latest trends — the volume of recycled clothes has increased, but lower quality has reduced their life expectancy, Lo said.

“Fast fashion must slow down to reduce the impact on the environment,” she said.

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