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Textiles and the Environment. Our lives today. During the 20 th century, our quality of life has improved significantly The textile industry has made enormous advances with the development of new fibres, fabrics, products and processes

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Textiles and the Environment

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our lives today
Our lives today.......
  • During the 20th century, our quality of life has improved significantly
  • The textile industry has made enormous advances with the development of new fibres, fabrics, products and processes
  • We now have a huge selection of choices with regards to textiles, but at what cost?
  • Globally, non-renewable resources are being depleted, air pollution is increasing and the contamination of our waterways is creating ecological disasters

What is Sustainability?

  • For Humans, this means the potential of long term maintenance of well-being through the maintenance of our natural world and resources
  • So, how can we maintain

our natural world and



There are a number of ways that we can help sustain the environment for future generations:

- recycle and reuse textile products

- use fibres derived from the natural environment that do not deplete natural resources (natural vs man-made)

- use Organic fibres (those that are grown without exposure to toxins) – this is known as Green Clothing because of its positive affect on the environment

sustainable fabric types
Sustainable Fabric Types

A Sustainable or Green fabric is one that leaves the least impact throughout its lifespan - from creation, through its long life, and once it reaches its usable life's end. Some examples are:

  • Bamboo fibre
  • Organic cotton
  • Hemp
  • Pineapple husks
  • Soya
  • Wool
what about the animals
What about the animals......
  • Forty million animals die worldwide every year so that their fur can be used by the fashion industry.
  • The priority when the animals are killed is maintaining the quality of the fur, NOT the welfare of the animal
  • Ten million reptiles are killed for the skin each year and are sometimes killed in an inhumane way (skinning and boiling alive)
  • In silk production, silkworm cocoons are gassed, boiled or roasted whilst still alive
water impacts
Water Impacts
  • A lot of water is required to produce fabrics

eg. 1kg of cotton can take up to 20 000 litres of water to produce

  • Cotton production has contributed to the depletion of the Murray-Darling water basin in Australia
  • The manufacturing processes also take considerable amounts of water
  • Contamination of water can occur through use of chemicals and pesticides
air pollution
Air Pollution
  • Chemicals used throughout the production process let off fumes and gases that are harmful to our environment
  • We then have to breathe in this contaminated air

- what other processes affect our air?

land impacts
Land impacts
  • Lack of available space for landfill

from massive amounts of textile waste

  • Soil erosion
  • Reduced vegetation cover
  • Destruction of soil fertility
  • Contamination of the land

through chemicals and pesticides

human rights
Human Rights
  • Child labour in all levels of production:
  • Handpicking fibres
  • Applying pesticides
  • Fabric construction
  • Cheap labour in production processes – SWEATSHOPS......
  • Some of the biggest companies in the world use these Sweatshops – is it fair? You Decide!