Clothing related waste and possible solutions

A report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/assets/downloads/publications/A-New-Textiles-Economy_Full-Report_Updated_1-12-17.pdf) describes the global clothing sales increasing from 50 billion units in 2000 to 100 billion units in 2015 while the number of times clothese were worn on average before being discarded decreasing by 36% during the same period. The report claims a less than 1% recycle rate of clothing and suggests a greenhouse gas impact that is greater than international flights and maritime shipping. Is fast fashion, where there is an interest in following short term trends, the reason for such an impact ? Should consumers be charged for the environmental impact of their clothing or should this be the responsibility of the producers to take back used clothing ? Should manufacturers be provided explicit incentives to reuse clothing fibres from used clothing or should this be based on self interest to reduce costs ? Is there a need for governments to enable coordination to create a circular economy for clothing ?

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63 Responses to Clothing related waste and possible solutions

  1. Sara Moscato Howe says:

    This is a fascinating report on something that impacts each of us. It seems the fashion industry has always had quick changes in trends, so I find it less likely it is due to increasing changes in fashion trends. I would guess it is more likely due to a change in what we value, how quickly we discard old to get new and a lack of understanding of impact. Thus, I think it might be useful for this type of report to be turned into quick soundbites that can be promoted online to educate the general public. I also think an enterprising company could offer a discount for returned clothes to recycle rather than adding a surcharge. Many companies are looking to reduce their footprint these days and so are individuals. It could be a win for a company to add that incentive rather than a charge. A minimal surcharge may not be enough to change behaviors, but consumers like discounts and it makes them feel good to do something positive. A final option is similar with government – perhaps incentives to those companies that recycle more than those that don’t? Same principle as before – more likely to try for an incentive than really make an effort with a charge. If that does not work, then the surcharges are the next reasonable option. Knowing this information now, I will definitely make a better effort to recycle and cut down on the clothes I don’t wear!

  2. srinivas tadepalli says:

    This is a very interesting topic. As I was reading the document in detail, per the environmental protection agency from 1960 to 2010 (50 yrs), the average American textile waste increased from 20 pounds/year to 85 pounds/year (~4X). With the advent of affordable fast fashion and trendy clothing the use of non-degradable materials has increased multiple folds in the past few decades and the use of biodegradable materials such as cotton etc has gone down (for various reasons, one being expensive compared to polymeric fabric). Consumers are not willing to spend money on good and long lasting textiles anymore and poor quality garments (predominantly from the fast fashion market) don’t last long either. As a result, consumers buy more. On the other hand, the fashion industry has become notorious for exploitation of human capital, outsourcing production to the world’s lowest-wage economies etc. I also think most of the waste in the fashion industry is hidden along a chaotic supply chain which is not environmental friendly. I don’t think there is a perfect solution for this problem but I do believe in intelligent choices from both the consumer and producers. Clothing manufacturers should be incentivized for using biodegradable materials and recycling clothing and some efforts are already under way from some brands such as H&M etc. Unfortunately, whatever cannot be recycled ends up in a landfill polluting the environment.

    p.s.: @ Sara.. to your comment ” enterprising company could offer a discount for returned clothes to recycle rather than adding a surcharge”, some companies in the fast fashion world such as H&M etc are doing this right now.

  3. Matt Slane says:

    This article made me think about the built in lower quality techniques that have been used to allow costs to remain low and increase access to more income types. I don’t think that surcharges should be brought into this segment. Rather, this could be an opportunity for new entrants to come into the market with a big focus on the overall sustainability their product provides. Many of the lower quality materials have also moved into high end appliances. When having your HVAC system fixed talk to the techs. They all see much higher service issues and malfuntions in today’s appliances. However, we all have benefited from the lower price in purchasing these items. Much like the clothing industry, it seems like the economics are greater influences than the total quality and impact to the environment outlined in the article. Reflecting on a surcharge or tax from our econ course, we may find that those people groups with less income will be adversely impacted by this type of program.
    There could also be an opportunity to partner with goodwill etc to take and reprocess clothing as a possible solution.
    Interesting read.

  4. Anna Dietrich says:

    This was an interesting read! I have particularly always held an interest in fashion, yet rarely considered the environmental impact until more recently.
    I do believe that the idea of fast fashion (H&M, Zara, Forever21, etc.) has accelerated this waste and contributed to the numbers shared in the article. I think there is also a societal relationship in that consumers tend to want “new” and the latest and greatest. While a stereotypical example, it’s similar to what my grandmother would tell me- she would sew and fix clothes or share them as hand-me-downs, not throw them away.
    I do think manufacturers and retailers have a shared responsibility in this effort. While it’s a stretched comparison, I work for Cummins, a company that produces diesel engines which are regulated by emissions given the environmental impact. Again, it is not quite the same, but think it supports the narrative that companies should have environmentally related responsibility.
    From a consumer perspective, it’s hard to imagine a user tax placed on items that have negative impacts.
    I see a more sustainable solution in recycling, the materials used / reused, and quality of clothing to encourage a longer useful life. As shared in our Strategy course this module, Patagonia has a similar motto in that the founder strives for consumption, but less of it, with higher quality products.
    Potentially this idea of “green fashion” could be a competitive advantage for companies that position themselves in that way.

  5. Guillermo Cerutti says:

    I believe that most of this kind of changes have to come from external sources of the companies. So consumers and the Government have to push the companies into making these changes. From the consumer side, this is going to be difficult at first. Fashion is something that historically has changed in a very short time so moving to longer cycles will be difficult.
    It can be done if the idea is to use recycled fibers, this green fashion can have an impact. I would believe that the Government placing a tax would not be good, because it will end up making pricier clothes and everyone will complain without seeing any benefit.
    Government can give incentives to companies though. That way, consumers will not be hit by a tax and companies will be looking to advertise that they are going green, so it would be a better solution.
    Educating consumers can take time though; so moving in this direction is looking for long term.

  6. Zihan Lin says:

    Usually the fast fashion relies on the continuous design of products. While, the decreasing worn average before being discarded are not only caused by the fast fashion. In the long term, the low recycle rate will affect the environment. As producer, the company needs to build the sustainable supply chain. Fast fashion needs to consider the eco-friendly material and advertise the green consumption concept for the consumers. It is hard to measure the responsibility of consumers. While, the producer could recycle the cloth for reproduction. Also, the allowance form government could use be a stimulus to advise producer to recycle the product and use green material even the cost is higher. Only lowering the cost is not a sustainable solution.

  7. Adam Hupp says:

    The rise of fast fashion, increasing standards of living, and population growth all contribute to the increased use of textiles. Many of the damages associated with this growth could be mitigated through frequent recycling. If a circular textile industry is to be successful and sustainable it must bring value for all participants. Current recycling efforts are only successful when recycled products are competitive with freshly sourced materials. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to jump-start circular economies, and sometimes outside forces are necessary. This could take the shape of government intervention, industry collaboration, adoptions of new standards, or other measures that would change the nature of the textile market. While manufacturers may initially be provided incentives to reuse fibers, if this is to be sustainable there must be a pathway for recycling cost competitiveness. Otherwise, customers are hurt either through higher prices or through the use of taxpayer money as incentives.

  8. Shannon Hadley says:

    Fast fashion has had a huge impact on the increase of both clothing sales as well as the significantly higher discard rate of clothing in the 15 year time period between 2000 and 2015. Trends in fast fashion especially in retailers like Zara can have turnaround time with new inventory in their stores as quick as every 2 weeks. For retailers like this, these clothes are not made to last and are only designed to last through less than 10 washing cycles, so even if customers would choose to wear the trend past its popularity the clothing wouldn’t allow it which has caused the discard rate to jump so high. Because fast fashion is making such a large contribution into discarded clothing adding hugely to the impact of greenhouse gases being emitted, making consumers accountable for the environmentally responsible discard of these articles of clothing or entertaining a return to manufacturer option to use the discarded clothing to be recycling and used again would aid in a significant decrease in the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in the discard process. Using either a positive or negative incentive system is the only way that these consumers participate so much in fast fashion and the quick discarding of their products. While the most ideal solution to this problem would be an elimination of fast fashion and implementation of making clothing that is meant to last, the most realistic way for this problem to be solved is most likely using the circular economy model to recycle the used fast fashion pieces into new merchandise.

  9. diegopama says:

    Diego Palacios

    It is known that fashion and textile industry is the 2nd most contaminant industry in the world after oil & gas. However, society has penalized much more the Oil & Gas industry and is starting to be critic about particular aspects of clothes manufacturers and retailers.

    From my perspective, this is related to our lack of ability to be aware of all our surroundings. Our brain has limited capacity for processing information and we are less capable of understanding things that happen “far away” from us. It is only when we get to be conscious about the footprint we leave when we buying that we start to care more.

    Companies are trying to do the best they can to satisfy customer “needs” and if those needs are not aligned to an increased willingness to pay to have a more sustainable model with less impact on the environment, companies would be out of business. Today, superconductivity has increased our awareness of things that happen far away from us and companies care more about their impact as society and government have grown to be more responsible. I think as the customers and government create incentives to sustain a more circular economies, companies will adapt to remain competitive in the market.

    I believe every agent can do something as each person cares more about the environment: government can create incentives for companies to reduce their impact through regulation and tax benefits. Companies can improve their image through corporate social responsibility and increase the willingness to pay for recycled cloth fibers, create incentives for people to recycle clothes to have more availability of “raw material”. Lastly, consumers can learn more about the footprint they have, which will make them think twice on what they want to get and value more products that are aligned to a circular economy.

  10. yutzu_huang says:

    In my opinion, the consumers should be charged for the environmental Impact of their clothing. But the producers should also promote these kinds of activities. It is hard for producers to take responsibility for all environmental impact because if they sell clothes to the customers, it will be hard for them to track the clothes. Government can encourage people to do recycle. For example, government can hold an event to sell second-hand clothes, set a recycle station in each area, or have a recycle competition for the residence.

  11. Shrey Bansal says:

    Fashion is the second most polluting industry on the planet and is having a massive impact on the earth’s resources. Fast fashion makes shopping for clothes more affordable, but it comes at an environmental cost. Due to affordable pricing, customers buy more than required clothing and because of frequent change in trends, they stop wearing the old ones. A lot of this clothing ends up in a dump. The equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothes is burned or dumped in a landfill every second.

    The fashion industry has responded to the need to develop more sustainable fashion options and eco-friendly fashion production. Brands like H&M launched a global recycling initiative in 2013. This impressive program includes both collecting garments for recycling or reuse and making new goods with the recycled materials. H&M has also introduced denim garments that contain up to 20 percent recycled content and has plans to expand the number of garments produced with recycled content. Retailers, through advertising and campaigns, could educate customers on fashion sustainability and streamlining textile supply chains to reduce waste. Although these measures are having an impact, the consumer still remains reluctant to purchase sustainable fashion. Without their buy-in, the fashion industry won’t be able to, or have the motivation to change. Consumers need to take some responsibility too. To encourage customers for sustainable buying, H&M offers people to drop off unwanted garments from any brand and condition, and in return gives a coupon to use towards next purchase.

    In my opinion, the responsibility towards environment should be of every entity in supply chain. Retailers are already promoting sustainable clothing, manufacturers could be incentivized for reusing the waste fiber for production, customers should self-realize, buy only the needed clothing and use it for the duration as long as possible. Government should enable the coordination and promote circular economy. Renowned clothing brand ‘Nordstrom’ is already practicing circular economy by selling used clothing alongside the new ones in its stores.

  12. tiandai says:

    I think that with the continuous improvement of production costs and production technology, as well as more people’s pursuit of fashion, such a phenomenon can be expected. It is undeniable that the mass production of clothing and the lack of recycling measures will have a great impact on the environment. I think the government should play a leading role in this process. The government can reward companies or organizations that are willing to provide clothing recycling services. Objectively speaking, most people are willing to donate or recycle old clothes they no longer use, but they often lack convenient ways. I believe that this problem will be greatly improved if a sound recycling system is established at the government level. This problem should not be solved through simple tax increases or mandatory legislation. The market is very flexible, and it will be difficult to achieve the desired results if these programs are simply adopted. On the contrary, it may further stimulate sectoral companies to use lower-cost raw materials, which will have a greater impact on the environment.

  13. Rustam Kalimzhanov says:

    Of course, fast fashion is not the main reason for the growth in clothing sales. The root cause of the growth in sales is the human behavior and the growing well-being of the population. Especially the growth of the middle class in developing countries.

    Recycling used clothing is a complex issue. And, unambiguously, it is difficult to assert who should be responsible for this. On the one hand, consumers should treat nature ethically.

    On the other hand, without government incentives, it is difficult to force producers to engage in processing if it is not commercially viable. Therefore, coordination by governments can significantly increase the use of secondary raw materials in production. Tax incentives can stimulate supply chains to collect, ship, and recycle. For example, sea ships arrive in the United States loaded with new apparel, but in the opposite direction they could pick up used clothes for re-production.

  14. laford13 says:

    I believe that the fast fashion industry is taking a huge tole on the world right now, and there has to be a change in the way they are operating immediately. Does someone need to be held accountable? The answer to this question is yes. The producers in this industry need to be held accountable for the impacts they are having on the entire world. There needs to be an additional charge they need to pay based on the number of products they are producing per month. The customer also needs to be held responsible for the environmental impacts of the industry. This can happen by placing an additional tax on the products that the consumer is purchasing. It is sad to realize that we have to incentivize companies to follow a process that is better for the world and earth. People have lost a sense of what is truly important, and that is taking care of our world. Everyone is just focused on making profit, and they don’t care what happens to anything, as long as they are still making money.
    If we really want to see a real change in the way our world looks and mitigate the effects of manufacturing, our government has to step in and put a policy in place. Nobody is going to make the change on their own because they only care about their profits.

  15. Vincent Coltellino says:

    Dr. Rebecca Henderson’s new book “Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire” extensively addresses the costs that unsustainable practices have on society and even the destructive business itself. I definitely think that fast fashion is a big contributor to these negative environmental impacts and the consumer should be charged for the costs that they are currently not absorbing. We speak in class that the customer is ultimately the one who pays for the costs, why not the environmental cost? It is difficult to monetize these environmental costs, but there certainly are long term costs that can impact the future of a business. The average CEO is chasing the concept of increasing shareholder value in the short term (quarterly) and fails to think about increasing the shareholder value in the longer term. Patagonia uses practices for their apparel that are the opposite of fast fashion and have been very successful in doing so. It is not impossible to sell apparel sustainably, but most companies view things very myopically and take the path of least resistance. Government interaction would be very helpful in regulating this industry.

  16. Szu Han Huang says:

    I think that people do not like to re-use the clothing once it is out of fashion resulted in such bad impact. In the report, it mentioned that if the company start to focus on the recycle, it can lead to material cost savings and reduced exposure to resource price volatility. On condition of that, I think it will benefit either the customer or the manufacturer. The customer is the one who pays for all the costs so if the company can reduce the costs during the production, it is helpful to release the burden of the customer. I think the responsibility for the long-term sustainability in the whole supply chain should be taken by all the stakeholders. Furthermore, the government sometimes should play an essential role to advocate this kind of policy by proving some incentives or regulations.

  17. Robert Waggoner says:

    This article seems to be focused on the impact of clothing with regards to the environment and the lack of recyclability of the products being worn, but in general I feel like its connecting clothing with all of the other products manufacturers are making that are not being recycled either. Clothing is just one of the many products contributing to environmental wastes, however it is not solely the suppliers fault nor the consumers fault, but rather a mix in my opinion. If there is demand for these products manufacturers will produce the expected demand, it is that simple. The concern I have is whether or not we can actually get these companies to recycle old clothes and turn them into new products and whether or not consumers are willing to even recycle clothing in the first place.
    Sometimes, in order to make something happen for the betterment of society you need to incentivize people. As for companies manufacturing clothing, they should be offered incentives to invest in technology and equipment to reuse old clothing to make new products, because majority of companies will not do it out of their own merit regardless of the impact people claim they are making. Along with this, which we already do with salvation army and other charitable organizations, we should offer tax deductions for all clothing brought back to either be resold or recycled.
    There are other ways we could try to improve this problem, however i think incentives are the most effective for all parties.

  18. Yuchen Zhang says:

    Fast fashion is an industry that the SKUs changed completely in a short period time. Part of the impact is due to the changing customers preference and I think part of it is because of the logistic cost associated with transporting salvage items. To reduce the environmental impact, the producers should take the responsibility to take back used clothing, although it will cost more for the companies, it can generate environmental-friendly image for the public and educate customers’ conscious on environment. Reusing clothing fibers can dramatically reduce the waste so incentives should be provided for the manufacturers. Reducing costs alone cannot attract enough manufacturers to reuse fibers. To create a circular economy, governments and manufacturers should coordinate together to reduce the environmental impact. By doing so, it would not only be a win-win situation for them, but also more importantly for the future of our own planet.

  19. Mrunal Vaidya says:

    I believe that fast fashion is one of the main reasons for this change in clothing market. Also, the readily available variety of clothes and westernization has caused a change in clothing trends worldwide. It is easily possible to discard clothes and buy new ones with one basic apparel not costing a lot. Although, no one wants to throw away their clothes unless warped or torn. Nowadays designer clothes cost a fortune and can’t be worn more than once or twice. It would be helpful to have more stores like goodwill worldwide. Or if not re selling, reusing fabric can have dramatic impact. To make more and more people follow the reuse recycle method, there need to be some incentives for people. If there is a salvage value for such dispensable assets, it can cause a lot of difference, just like newspaper reselling. Such new market to resell apparels can be run or driven by the existing fabric merchants.

  20. Pooja Gupta says:

    Clothing is one of the world’s top contributors to GHG emissions with extremely small percentage of total production actually going for recycling. Producing high amounts with fast changing trends and selling it cheap is causing more sustainability issues than ever. One reason for why companies are not able to recycle most of the used products is because of the inability to have the same quality of fibre after recycling particularly in case of wool or cotton. Even when some big fashion labels like H&M, Nike have been been trying to engage customers to motivate them to use their products for longer to reduce landfills, or to return used clothes enabling them to recycle, it is interesting to look at the number of people who are actually following these. One way out is definitely reusing of clothes and I believe a lot of non governmental organizations are doing amazing work in this regard. Incentive programs for customers in the form of points/credits which can be redeemed for new clothes at the store, different pricing for recycled clothes to encourage circular economy, and making companies accountable for every single piece of cloth they sell.

  21. Zi Wang says:

    Clothes make the man, especially with people’s continuous desire for following the trend. Fast-fashion products always have short lifespans, and more importantly, most of these products’ material cannot be recycled- more and more chemical material is shown on the price tag rather than 100% cotton or wool. From a sustainable perspective, everyone should do something to make some changes. On top of the list, governments must arouse people’s awareness from the deep heart. For instance, they can introduce related policies for punishment as well as reward, especially for those high-emission manufacturers. They can also initiate public activities and build more recycling bins for people to put obsolete clothes in. I would say customers are charged for the environmental impact of clothes is a good idea, but I don’t think it’s doable at least for a short period of time since it’s difficult to set standard or reasonable charge amount. On the other hand, producers should use more eco-friendly material and take more responsibility to motivate customers to return back used clothing for future use with circular economy modes. In this scenario, it’s better for the government to provide some subsidies for companies to develop related systems or processes. Based on the fact that fashion keeps updating, more forcible methods should be implemented first to specify manufactures’ behavior and gradually change people’s way of only focusing on the style.

  22. Zhewei Tao says:

    It is interesting to see the fact that there is a conflict between customers and retailers about the uses of certain materials. Especially when the fast fashion and trendy clothing are using the non-degradable materials in a larger quantity and in a higher frequency pace and in the meantime the uses of recyclable materials like cotton has gone down. However, the customers are not willing to spend more money on either short period lasting clothes or pricy clothes last for a long period. Which could lead to further supply chain problem and makes the supply chain even more unhealthy towards to the environment. To better prevent this situation, it is appropriate for government to come up certain regulations to either reward the manufactures to use biodegradable materials or punish those manufactures that use non-degradable materials. The punishments can be implied by increasing the tax rate or decrease the benefits from government. Also, by setting the specific goals to manufactures can be helpful too, like by certain year, every clothing retailers should have a well-diversified production line that contains certain percentage usages of recyclable materials and to replace the non-degradable material in a slower pace until fully replaced.

  23. Antoine Minier says:

    Nowadays, people tend to buy more clothes in comparison with older generations due to relatively low cloth’s prices thanks to the emergence of manufacturing hub in Asia. Moreover, the increasing presence of advertising online and the social pressure to be trendy force people to replace their clothes more often and therefore consume more.
    This increasing in consumption place a heavy burden on the environment. Indeed, the clothing industry is one of the most polluting. It is in my opinion important to sensitized consumer about the environmental impact of their purchases. However, consumer can’t be blamed about the wrongdoing of brands that encourage over consumption and privilege quantity over quality. I think a system hybrid should be put in placed where brands charge more money for their clothes to offset carbon emission created by the manufacturing and transports of those clothes. Moreover, a system of voucher can be put in place like H&M did to encourage people to bring back their used clothes to be recycled.
    Because of the increasing urgency create by climate change, states cannot only rely on the goodwill of companies to move forward in reduction of carbon emission. Therefore, a tax break for companies that reuse fiber could be put in place and the creation of a label for brands that are ecofriendly. Government can help facilitate a circular economy by investing in recycling facility and research and development. Moreover, by educating people and promoting people to bring back their clothes to particular location like it is the case for trashes, government could help collect a large amount of cloth and put them back in the loop by recycling of refurbishing them.

  24. zhixinli says:

    As the article claimed, clothing sales increased significantly during the past decade, but customers usually do not wear them many times before discarding them. This phenomenon has caused a serious greenhouse effect. In my opinion, one of the reasons is that more people are beginning to pursue fashion, and when fast fashion has become a trend, people buy fashion products for the new seasons more frequently. Retailers are happy when they sell more products and customers are happy when they buy trendy clothes. This is a win-win result. However, regarding the environmental impact, I do not believe it is a good idea to charge consumers since it would weaken the incentives of consumers to purchase. Most fashion products are already expensive, retailers may lose sales if charge consumers extra. Instead, manufacturers could carry out a plan to encourage the consumer to send unwanted clothes back by giving them a certain amount of credit so that manufactures would be able to recycle and reuse the clothing fibers. But this should be totally voluntary, what the government can do is to increase publicity of this policy and draw consumers’ attention to environmental protection.

  25. chizhang says:

    From my perspective, fast fashion is one of the main reasons for such an impact on the environment. The success of fast fashion brands such as Zara, H&M makes a huge impact on the industry which leads to a fast fashion trend in the apparel industry. The majority of the fast-fashion brand’s product have short product life cycle, only sale for several months, lower price than the average market price, increasing the number of item customer take per order and customers order frequency, and relative poorer quality, which makes more people refresh their wardrobe every year. I think the government should play an important role in creating a circular economy for clothing. Clothing companies’ first consideration is how to reduce costs and make more profit, so develop recyclable clothing is not their first target. If the government could give some rewards for companies that create circular clothing such as tax relief, Companies will have more incentives to create a circular economy of clothing.

  26. cpeplin21 says:

    The rise in the number of fast fast fashion clothing manufacturers, such as Zara, from 2000 to 2015 are certainly the reason for the increase in the greenhouse gas impact. Consumers are much more interested in cheap clothes to wear a few times and buy more next season. However, even if customers wanted to reduce the impact and wear their fast fashion clothes for longer time periods, they are only designed to be washed like 10 times. Therefore, consumers are forced to throw away their old clothes and purchase new ones which is great for business, but not for the environment. Fast fashion retailers should be responsible for creating avenues to take back used clothing to be recycled and used in the production of new clothing. Clothing manufactures that pride themselves on quality, such as Patagonia, already have created such avenues so it is feasible. However, it is unlikely that fast fashion retailer would participate in return programs willingly because it will drive up their costs and erode part of their competitive advantage in the marketplace. Therefore, it would be great for the government to step in and enable coordination to create a circular economy for clothing.

  27. Mengwei Li says:

    Phase out substances, utilize new techniques, find out economic way to design, produce and decrease the pollution are our trends and pursuit today. Either from the coordination from other companies or outsourcing or even innovate on the clothing materials and replace the traditional way in manufacturing are all needs we are looking for. Since the various demands from customers, the fashion industry are always in the way of business development no matter how fast it would be. In my opinion, the government can regulate rules in order to prohibiting the businessman sacrificing environment by making profits. Short term fashion is also a good thinking of big market. After all, the general group consumers are in average line in expenses.

  28. Karun Nambiar Manikoth says:

    Yes, I do believe fast fashion is a growing contributor to the greenhouse gas impact. It’s driven on large sales, short term fashion trends which convince customers to more frequently buy new clothes to keep up with the current trends, and just discarding the old clothes. I also think the quality of fast fashion products can be on average more poor than other brands, hence pushing for discarding the material sooner than later. With the lack of recycling and huge customer demands, I see that the fast fashion industry can be very much the opposite of what is environment friendly.

    Consumers be charged for the environmental impact of their clothing, but significantly less as compared to the producers. An additional tax or fee linked to carbon footprint costs can be designated. It should be the responsibility of the producers to not only take back used clothing, but to also push for using more eco-friendly materials and reducing their greenhouse gas impact. All this will require additional operating costs, but it is the more ethical thing to do, and should be encouraged.

    Government incentives can push manufacturers to reuse clothing fibers from used clothing. Manufacturers may not otherwise, simply to generate higher profits and invest less on recycling processes. Incentives on people may be too large a crowd and inconvenient to adopt for the government. Government incentives on manufacturers would mean the consumers will not be hit by a tax, aside from any additional carbon footprint offset fees.

    There is a need for governments to enable coordination to create a circular economy for clothing. Coordination by governments can significantly push for companies to take up practices for less environmental impacts and make it mandatory to follow as well. Customers can be made simultaneously more aware of eco-friendly methods and what they can do to help, first by starting to turn towards and purchase products that are generated and help facilitate the circular economy. Encouraging people to recycle and reduce the carbon footprint they contribute to can greatly help reduce the impact the fast fashion industry has on the environment.

  29. Smit Shah says:

    Fast fashion is definitely a reason for the increased environmental impact of clothing but charging customers would only work against the retailers. Brand loyalists would not be affected as much but people looking for affordable clothing to keep up with the changing trends would think twice before buying a new piece of clothing. Instead, customers should be given incentives to recycle their used and /or worn out clothes in return for gift cards, coupons, discounts etc. This would help in increasing recycle rates while boosting sales.
    In order for this to work, clothing brands need to come up with such technologies and the government needs to encourage those brands to move towards that path by giving incentives. So, creation of a circular economy is a solution and each stakeholder needs to take the responsibility for their actions and its impact and think about sustainability.

  30. Consumers and regulatory agencies have realized the huge environmental impact of the fashion industry’s production, washing and disposal processes. A study by Wrap, an environmental activity organization, showed that in 2015, 300,000 tons of clothes were discarded in the UK, a decrease of 50,000 tons compared to 2012. Although the situation has improved, clothing remains the fourth largest environmental killer in the UK, second only to housing, transportation and food. In the past ten years, the globalization of the fashion industry and the development of fast fashion business models have put a lot of pressure on the environment: fast fashion encourages consumers to lose them after use-mass production of so-called fashion-oriented clothing has greatly shortened the cost of clothing. Service life. Those discarded garments enter the landfill, producing methane, which is released into the atmosphere. Mary Creagh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the British Environmental Review Committee, said: “Fashion development should not be at the expense of harming the earth. The current way we design, produce and discard clothing is extremely harmful to the environment. During the production of clothing, a lot of toxic chemicals are generated. Matter and carbon dioxide.”
    The impact of fast fashion production on the environment is just the tip of the iceberg. Mary Creagh said: “Every time you wash clothes, thousands of plastic fibers will flow into the sewers and oceans. Our investigation will focus on how the fashion industry reshapes itself. While prospering and developing, maintain sustainable development.”
    Thus, I personally think it is not important to blame or figure out who should take responsibility, and I think we should all take efforts to make the situation better. At present, many fashion brands and retailers have pledged to improve their sustainability capabilities that we could learn from, such as:
    1. The UK’s largest department store, John Lewis, launched a pilot buy-back program to buy back clothes that customers don’t want.
    2. Brands such as Nike, H&M, Burberry and Gap announced that they have joined the Make Fashion Circular program initiated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to reduce waste in the global fashion industry by recycling raw materials and products. (see https://luxe.co/post/82766)
    3. H&M and Zara launched an in-store recycling project, placing clothing recycling bins in stores to encourage consumers to reduce the disposal of old clothes.
    4. Outdoor brands Patagonia and The North Face launch clothing repair and recycling projects. (see https://luxe.co/post/84327)

  31. hu431 says:

    Consumers and regulatory agencies have realized the huge environmental impact of the fashion industry’s production, washing and disposal processes. A study by Wrap, an environmental activity organization, showed that in 2015, 300,000 tons of clothes were discarded in the UK, a decrease of 50,000 tons compared to 2012. Although the situation has improved, clothing remains the fourth largest environmental killer in the UK, second only to housing, transportation and food. In the past ten years, the globalization of the fashion industry and the development of fast fashion business models have put a lot of pressure on the environment: fast fashion encourages consumers to lose them after use-mass production of so-called fashion-oriented clothing has greatly shortened the cost of clothing. Service life. Those discarded garments enter the landfill, producing methane, which is released into the atmosphere. Mary Creagh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the British Environmental Review Committee, said: “Fashion development should not be at the expense of harming the earth. The current way we design, produce and discard clothing is extremely harmful to the environment. During the production of clothing, a lot of toxic chemicals are generated. Matter and carbon dioxide.”
    The impact of fast fashion production on the environment is just the tip of the iceberg. Mary Creagh said: “Every time you wash clothes, thousands of plastic fibers will flow into the sewers and oceans. Our investigation will focus on how the fashion industry reshapes itself. While prospering and developing, maintain sustainable development.”
    Thus, I personally think it is not important to blame or figure out who should take responsibility, and I think we should all take efforts to make the situation better. At present, many fashion brands and retailers have pledged to improve their sustainability capabilities that we could learn from, such as:
    1. The UK’s largest department store, John Lewis, launched a pilot buy-back program to buy back clothes that customers don’t want.
    2. Brands such as Nike, H&M, Burberry and Gap announced that they have joined the Make Fashion Circular program initiated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to reduce waste in the global fashion industry by recycling raw materials and products. (see https://luxe.co/post/82766)
    3. H&M and Zara launched an in-store recycling project, placing clothing recycling bins in stores to encourage consumers to reduce the disposal of old clothes.
    4. Outdoor brands Patagonia and The North Face launch clothing repair and recycling projects. (see https://luxe.co/post/84327)

  32. hu431 says:

    Consumers and regulatory agencies have realized the huge environmental impact of the fashion industry’s production, washing and disposal processes. In the past ten years, the globalization of the fashion industry and the development of fast fashion business models have put a lot of pressure on the environment: fast fashion encourages consumers to lose them after use-mass production of so-called fashion-oriented clothing has greatly shortened the cost of clothing. Service life. Those discarded garments enter the landfill, producing methane, which is released into the atmosphere. Mary Creagh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the British Environmental Review Committee, said: “Fashion development should not be at the expense of harming the earth. The current way we design, produce and discard clothing is extremely harmful to the environment. During the production of clothing, a lot of toxic chemicals are generated. Matter and carbon dioxide.”
    The impact of fast fashion production on the environment is just the tip of the iceberg. Mary Creagh said: “Every time you wash clothes, thousands of plastic fibers will flow into the sewers and oceans. Our investigation will focus on how the fashion industry reshapes itself. While prospering and developing, maintain sustainable development.”
    Thus, I personally think it is not important to blame or figure out who should take responsibility, and I think we should all take efforts to make the situation better. At present, many fashion brands and retailers have pledged to improve their sustainability capabilities that we could learn from, such as:
    1. The UK’s largest department store, John Lewis, launched a pilot buy-back program to buy back clothes that customers don’t want.
    2. Brands such as Nike, H&M, Burberry and Gap announced that they have joined the Make Fashion Circular program initiated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to reduce waste in the global fashion industry by recycling raw materials and products. (see https://luxe.co/post/82766)
    3. H&M and Zara launched an in-store recycling project, placing clothing recycling bins in stores to encourage consumers to reduce the disposal of old clothes.
    4. Outdoor brands Patagonia and The North Face launch clothing repair and recycling projects. (see https://luxe.co/post/84327)

  33. hu431 says:

    Consumers and regulatory agencies have realized the huge environmental impact of the fashion industry’s production, washing and disposal processes. A study by Wrap, an environmental activity organization, showed that in 2015, 300,000 tons of clothes were discarded in the UK, a decrease of 50,000 tons compared to 2012. Although the situation has improved, clothing remains the fourth largest environmental killer in the UK, second only to housing, transportation and food. In the past ten years, the globalization of the fashion industry and the development of fast fashion business models have put a lot of pressure on the environment: fast fashion encourages consumers to lose them after use-mass production of so-called fashion-oriented clothing has greatly shortened the cost of clothing. Service life. Those discarded garments enter the landfill, producing methane, which is released into the atmosphere. Mary Creagh, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the British Environmental Review Committee, said: “Fashion development should not be at the expense of harming the earth. The current way we design, produce and discard clothing is extremely harmful to the environment. During the production of clothing, a lot of toxic chemicals are generated. Matter and carbon dioxide.”

    The impact of fast fashion production on the environment is just the tip of the iceberg. Mary Creagh said: “Every time you wash clothes, thousands of plastic fibers will flow into the sewers and oceans. Our investigation will focus on how the fashion industry reshapes itself. While prospering and developing, maintain sustainable development.”

    Thus, I personally think it is not important to blame or figure out who should take responsibility, and I think we should all take efforts to make the situation better. At present, many fashion brands and retailers have pledged to improve their sustainability capabilities that we could learn from, such as:
    1. The UK’s largest department store, John Lewis, launched a pilot buy-back program to buy back clothes that customers don’t want.
    2. Brands such as Nike, H&M, Burberry and Gap announced that they have joined the Make Fashion Circular program initiated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to reduce waste in the global fashion industry by recycling raw materials and products.
    3. H&M and Zara launched an in-store recycling project, placing clothing recycling bins in stores to encourage consumers to reduce the disposal of old clothes.
    4. Outdoor brands Patagonia and The North Face launch clothing repair and recycling projects.

  34. Ali Amer says:

    There is no doubt that fast fashion has been booming for the last decade and that majority is because of short term trends and recents products/designs getting “out of fashion” at a faster rate than ever. For example Zara the iconic fast fashion brand each year launches 10,000 new styles, whereas similar brands like H&M & GAP launch 2000-4000 styles each year respectively.
These thousands of new styles are launched at very affordable and consumer friendly prices in to have customers buy the latest trend/design easily, creating this deadly greenhouse gas impact.

    In my opinion if the consumers are charged for the environmental impact and an increase in cost is pushed onto them, it would hamper the business model of fast fashion as numerous design launches are at very affordable prices and some even first copies. The onus falls on these fast fashion retailers to educate their customers, re-use clothing fibres and also create a mechanism for the customers to recycle all the unused clothes or “out of fashion” designs in order to lower the environmental impact.

  35. Sheng Yu says:

    Is fast fashion, where there is an interest in following short term trends, the reason for such an impact ? Should consumers be charged for the environmental impact of their clothing or should this be the responsibility of the producers to take back used clothing ? Should manufacturers be provided explicit incentives to reuse clothing fibres from used clothing or should this be based on self interest to reduce costs ? Is there a need for governments to enable coordination to create a circular economy for clothing ?

    I believe fast fashion is part of the reason for such an impact as their sale strategy creates products that would never be sold and thus being wasted. However, as the article is from 2015 and I have been working at Nike in 2020, I did see huge changes in appeal and the sportswear industry trying to make the shift WITHOUT government coordination – as environmental concern is a universal concern for general customers and creates goodwill for the company, fashion companies are more likely to start green initiatives by themselves. For example, Nike’s supply chain has a green project team focusing on saving on transportation emissions, package materials, and labor costs. Also, at end of the season, unsold items were hugely discount and sold to employees as an employee benefit. Nike also created programs on recycling used shoes and clothes which were later turned into materials for some of its products (AKA Nike Grinds) or building material for sports facilities (such as rubber base for basketball fields). So yes, this industry creates waste – but there are ways to reduce them from the company’s effort without cost to consumers, nor government influence.

  36. nishchaykhona says:

    I feel the consumers should not be charged for the environmental impact cost, rather the companies can run certain programs and provide incentives to allow customers to sell these to the company directly for a particular amount/discount for future purchase and the companies can then look at recycling option by directly shipping them to the suppliers. This will ensure the circular economy is intact and less wastage might take place.

  37. yujintao says:

    Fast fashion is definitely the reason for the impact. The quick turnaround of new styles, increased number of collection offered per year, and often lower price make the clothing sales increase. Since those clothes are cheap, people may buy a lot and always change, which makes the utilization decrease. More than half of fast fashion produced is disposed of in under a year, which put pressure on resources, pollutes and degrades the natural environment and ecosystems.
    Producers, while making profits by fast fashion, should realize their responsibility to close the loop for the entire supply chain since it’s unlikely to make consumers responsible for the impact to the environment. They need to know where their products are going to be and find a way to recycle them to maintain the sustainability of the supply chain.
    Manufacturers should find ways to recycle clothing fibers not only because it can reduce the costs, but also help improve the image of the brand. Nowadays, sustainability is much more of people’s concerns and more and more companies take that into consideration.
    Compared with manufacturers, it’s a lot easier for governments to create a circular economy for clothing. They can appeal to people to reuse the cloth, like donation or collect together, to reduce the impact to the environment. They can also regulate the standards for manufacturers to control their gas emission, making them to close the loop.

  38. Aman Arora says:

    The need of encouraging a circular economy now is more than before. Low costs of production, cheap labour due to high population levels coupled with consumers’ need for constant social validation has resulted in decrease in reduction in number of times the clothes were worn before being discarded. The blame definitely goes on manufacturers and brands because this is a strategy used for increasing profits. They focus on “wants” above “needs” and “style” above “utility” and very well understand the impact being created but smartly cite consumer choices as reasons to market styles to increase sales. Governments definitely need to come together to either tax companies if volume of recycle raw material used is below a certain threshold or incentivize them to encourage customers to use product for a longer duration. Ultimately, manufacturers, consumers and governments need to understand the long term impact being created and the need to recycle for the benefit of the planet.

  39. Even as fashion has gotten faster and cheaper, there’s another cost to stocking up on fresh looks, fashion is now one of the most polluting industries in the world, the textile industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the aviation and shipping industries combined, basically, if we designed an economy where there’s no waste it has to be circular so the product would be used as long as possible, and then back into that economy as raw materials. Companies should be signed up to work on ways to implement the circular economy concept into their fashion lines, by improving the quality of the clothes so consumers can use them longer, and work side by side with local governments to install a circular economy philosophy, by creating a partnership to build recycling plants or adopting incentives like tax relief.

  40. Himanshu says:

    I feel short fashion trends which is turning moreover in a kind of fad has been adding to woo of clothing waste. It has to be looked form a simple side of demand and supply. Surprisingly clothing companies are creating a push marketing by launching their exclusive collections. Cheap production, repeated sales and short-lived products are all factors that lead to the million tons of waste produced by the industry per year. But it’s not just pollution that poses a threat to the world. In fact I feel the way our apparel is manufactured still uses trillions of tons of water and many toxic substance . One of the best way is to decrease from demand side that is as far as consumers are concerned, the most important thing is to slow down consumption; to buy less, to use longer (longer life), to take good care of your clothes, to shower more occasionally, and to indulge in higher quality and more classic clothing.

  41. Himanshu says:

    The fashion industry has been listed as one of the major causes of emissions in the world. Materials, procedures, a shifting and non-traceable supply chain, applied to our own consuming trend, are at the root of a big challenge. The fashion industry has a devastating environmental impact. In reality, it is the second biggest polluter in the world, only after the oil industry. And environmental pollution is on the increase as the industry expands. I feel fashion and fashion trends will always be there, what we need is to educate the consumers to the kind of clothes they have been buying. Choose natural or semi-synthetic fibers. Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, are synthetic fibers, thus non-biodegradable and can take up to 200 years to decompose. Hence clothing material and usage awareness would be the key to this menace.

  42. Felix Fu says:

    The environmental impacts of fast fashion are well laid out in the report. However unless the customers of fast fashion react in a way that would generate a response from the fashion industry, the industry would not willingly change on its own. The proposed ideas of having producers take back used clothes, sustainable manufactory, charging customers for the environmental impacts of their goods are good starting ideas. However, if the customers do not support those higher businesses that are pioneering those new business models, the industry would see that as a sign that its customers are not interested in those ideas. It may be more feasible for companies to work on ways to reduce clothes wastes while reducing costs so that they could stay competitive without extreme levels of customer support.

  43. Rujuta Mamadapur says:

    In my opinion, fast fashion and trends along with social media influences are causes for a decline in reusing clothes by people. This certainly has caused an environmental impact. Cloth manufacturing companies and brands should initiate campaigns and incentivise customers to either use their clothing more by showcasing dressing ideas on their websites for clothes or have buy-back options wherein they buy the clothes and refurbish them and donate them, instead of finding their way into landfills. Such awareness would also be helpful for the brand image and could be incorporated as a marketing strategy. This is a joint responsibility of the consumers as well as the companies to ensure that even though fashion has gotten cheaper, its repercussions arent at the cost of the environment.

  44. XuanMai Nguyen - nguye685 says:

    According to the article, fast fashion and trendy clothing are using non-degrable materials in large quantity and more often in many fashion companies, while the use of recyclable materials have gone down in recent years. This plays a significant role in impacting the environment. The article also suggest a conflict between consumers and retailers about the materials being used, and consumers are not willing to pay more on neither short period lasting clothings or long lasting clothing with more sustainable materials. Therefore, manufacturers should be provided explicit incentives to reuse clothing fibres from used clothing by regulations by the governments. The governments could give reward or subsidy for companies that use more biodegradable materials or punish those that use mainly non-degrable materials through tax increase or cut in subsidy. Moreover, the government could also set a quota for retailers to have a diversified product portfolio that guarantees a certain percentage of degradable products or recyclable materials from resuing fibres.

  45. Jorge Chamorro says:

    The specific case of clothing fashion is the reason of such an environmental impact because of the poor recycling practices. In other industries with constant introduction of new products (e.g. cellphones), there is a more stablished reverse logistics process, which reduces the amount of waste at the end of the Lifecycle. However, a different approach is possible. Patagonia is often quoted by its incredible closed-loop supply chain. As always, the solution requires the involvement of all the parties (i.e. government, companies, customers). For example, government regulations can incentivize sustainable practices through tax reductions or tax on new raw material, or it could also facilitate a recycling network along with the companies. Industry players should find an economic way of reusing the clothes without affecting cost structure. Lastly, customers should be willing to change their behavior when it comes to disposing clothes, and favor companies with sustainable practices, which would incentivize companies to move in that direction (reinforcing loop).

  46. Karan Shah says:

    Certainly, fast fashion has exacerbated the problem of environmental pollution and it is the industry’s responsibility to fix this issue as part of its core strategy. Utilizing the concept of circular economy, many retailers like Nike are already in the forefront of this concept by reusing textiles, recycling, reducing its carbon footprint through changes in its production and transportation processes. Additionally, promoting such recycled products is a better way of influencing consumer buying trends than charging higher product prices.

  47. Aishwarya Marreddi says:

    36% decrease in the number of times a person on average uses a clothing. This will obviously have an adverse impact on the environment. I would contribute a big share of this change to fast-fashion. Pushing new clothes and setting new trends every week will create a psychological feeling for a consumer to buy and stay with the trend. That being said we do have brands who use sustainability as their unique selling point with concepts like re-use etc. Brands who push fast-fashion downstream are aware of the impact they create but are keeping up with the consumer preferences. There is a change in consumer mind-set, consumers are conscious of the damage the products they use bring to the mother earth. These eco-friendly consumers go to such brands who are eco-friendly. Charging the consumer alone for the environmental impact seems unfair to me as the manufactures are also gaining from this entire transaction. It is everyone’s responsibility to save earth. Manufacturers are equally responsible as consumers and should share the consequences and take steps toward saving nature. Government with its policies and taxes can surely make an impact. It can bring that collective change in thought process of what impact are we having on environment. Everyone must be made aware of the Carbon footprint. Every product sold should have Carbon footprint attached to it. Companies have carbon footprint credit, a similar concept can be applied to individuals.

  48. Miheeth Gala says:

    Given the rate at which the environment is getting hampered it is of a grave concern for everyone in the world. There are so many ways in which fabric can be recycled and turned into a fancy product. So it is basically a collective effort that everybody can be incentivized for the benefit of the world to create a sustainable environment. Government must also have strict regulations to keep a check on this industry. Laws such as the CSR can be mandated where a specific amount of recycling is must by a company in this industry. Collaboration can definitely make way for innovation and can increase profits too.

  49. Atharva Sabnis says:

    While firms are solely focused on thriving competition by providing high customer fulfilment and service levels at maximum possible profitability, it is crucial to stop and ponder about our environmental footprint and impacts. Though we may not be able to see tangible costs, it sure is our responsibility and utmost need to make ecological considerations. While fast fashion models are imperative to satisfy growing consumer demand, reverse logistical channels need to be set up and customers and manufacturers must be incentivized to look at recycling as the next operation within a circularized supply chain. Since people of today are more responsive to punitive measures than positive reinforcements, there can be some instruments that impose restrictions and penalties such that it warrants customers to recycle as well as be responsible when it comes to their demand. Efficient back channels can be set up and lean systematic operations can be employed which will financially incentivize manufacturers to resort to recycling as a spare supply.
    Governments will definitely need to be a mediator if not an imposer for a circular supply chain that has ecological benefits and sustainable operations. Only when governments agree and coordinate to have these measures will there be any significant change in status quo.

  50. qiyaoliu says:

    The fast fashion industry creates large production to meet fast changing trends, but the short length of the period determines that there would be leftover inventory. some of those inventory turns to be wasted. As stated in the report that the fast fashion industry has a very low recycled rate, which is caused by a lot of reasons. in order to decrease waste, consumers, producers even society should all get involved in making improvements. charging customers for environmental impacts can be a way to encourage customers to do recycle, the same for the producers. If the waste treatment cost is high, or the benefits of recycling is more, then both consumers and producers would be encouraged to take certain actions. Meanwhile, as time goes by, customer behavior would be changed (prefer recyclable and environmentally friendly products), which would also lead to more environmentally friendly fashion industry.

  51. Aakash Jangir says:

    Fast fashion apparel industry is one of the possible reason for such an impact because of the most important reason : Cost. The cost of the products offered by firms like Zara and H&M is significantly low which attracts a consumer and they end up buying more. The major driver of these companies is the low cost and if environmental cost is added it might increase the price which can be a drawback for the. However, a one of the solution to this can be re-commerce of these goods. Firms, can have collection programs where they can provide an incentive to consumer in terms of shopping points to return the products after a several time period and then firms can either recycle these products or sale them to different customers in low economy regions. These, rules can be easier to achieve by large manufacturers but for smaller ones it is difficult to implement as their main goal is growth in the industry. Thus, government can provide subsidies to smaller manufacturers to start sustainable practices.

  52. Mathews Oommen says:

    Like we discussed in the previous blog on fast fashion by Zara, fashion trends are short lived. Hence, the average number of times a cloth is worn has reduced by half. This is a direct impact on the environment. In my opinion, a hybrid model should be developed where the consumer and the retailer are equally responsible for the environmental impact of their clothing. Retailers can give an incentive to the consumers who bring unused clothes for recycling. It is a win-win situation for both the parties.

    The government can also play its part by giving incentives to manufacturers who reuse clothing fibers from used clothing. In addition to reducing their overall costs, the additional benefits will encourage manufacturers to recycle. It will reduce the burden on the government to clear up landfills of waste clothes. It is high time we understand the relevance of a circular economy which is designed to reuse or recycle its waste, and which continues to grow but is decoupled from gobbling up natural resources. As the resources around us are limited, it is important that we practice smarter methods to reuse food, water and other raw materials.

  53. hsuehmouhuang says:

    From perspective of environment, fast fashion is actaully responsible to this impact. Actually, when these fibers or other materials are produced in manufacturing plants, it causes more CO2 and pollutions. Fast fashion just accelerate and facilitate the negative effect. Although fast fashion is convenient for people and we can enjoy a variety of fashion styles, this trend is also damaging our environment. In view of this, another industries who use alternative material or reused material to make clothes could help reduce the negative impact on environment. However, I think the tough part is to persuade customers to accept this idea. People tend not to think of recycle material or reused items as “fashion”. Customers always desire products to be brand new. Thus, I think companies who is researching recycle material can further develop techniques that make these used items become “newer” and at the same time promote thoughts of recycle material. Fashion companies, like Zara, also need to promote these thoughts to let customers realize that clothes that are made of used materials can still be fashionable. Governments must also coordinate with manufacturing suppliers to negotiate agreement of pollutions reduction. To sum up, reducing the impact on environment should be executed by all of the people. If we all are willing to protect our environment, “go-green” could actually be a real thing not just a slogan.

  54. Akul Manoj Kumar says:

    Many industries have started to charge their customers to cover for the ‘environment’ costs. For clothing industry, the solution can be two faceted. Since the average use of a clothing product depends on the final consumer, consumer should be penalized for discarding the product quickly. This can be done by introducing environmental cost in the product costs. The other side comes from incentivizing companies to recycle or reuse. Governments around the world levy taxes based on carbon footprints of the products. These taxes can be offset by recycling or reusing naterial. Similar intervention in this industry by govts will help in building a circular economy. The reverse logistics to collect products from consumers can be relatively simplistic in this industry because of an already existing last mile distribution network, which can be leveraged. Also, customers too can be incentivized to return products, making the process even easier.

  55. SAYAK MISHRA says:

    I would try to tally this with a general consensus and also something we learned in this course. Any supplier must have an incentive to bring values in the business.
    The environment effect is a serious issue and should be taken care by the manufacturers. Since the disposal cost is not borne by the customers, they don’t have any incentive to dispose it properly. One thing that can be thought is to incentivize the customers. In order to recycle several parts, companies can start to provide a small discount on return of the previous purchases. This however may not be sufficient to deter users from disposing clothes improperly. Another additional method may be for the government to provide incentives for businesses involved in collecting, sorting, and reusing used apparels.
    In certain interior parts of eastern India, there are several local small scale vendors that use these used clothes trade utensils. What happens is that the door-to-door vendors will approach a household with bunch of new utensils, and they would ask used clothes to trade the utensils for. The result is that the middleman has incentive to bring in the used clothes; the household figure gets utensils at less cost; the clothes get recycled. This, in my experience, has been very local and is mostly used to create a circular economy within the rural cloth producers of India. However, in this context, I feel it would be really helpful to think from this perspective and create a scalable platform for such business.

  56. Wenzheng Jiang says:

    I think fast fashion, where people follow short-term trends, is one of the reasons for this bad influence. Fast fashion sometimes means fast out-of-season and poor quality. Zara, for example, has a lot of “The clothes can only be worn for one season” reviews. This has undoubtedly led to a decrease in the average number of times clothing is worn before it is discarded.

    I don’t think it’s going to work in the short term to require consumers to pay for the environmental impact of their clothing. Because many consumers may not realize the environmental impact of their clothing. Therefore, governments need to coordinate to create a circular economy of clothing. First of all, consumers need to be made aware of these bad effects through publicity and education before they can start to change. Thus, changes in consumer behavior and market demand will also push manufacturers to make positive changes.

    At the same time, the government should give manufacturers clear incentives to recycle fabric from used clothes and encourage them to use recyclable and environmental-friendly materials when making clothes. Creating a circular economy is a good solution that benefits every stakeholder in the long term. While reducing costs based solely on the self-interest of manufacturers is not a sustainable solution.

  57. Nagendra Kumar says:

    A 100% increase in the sales in a short span of 15 years, while highly profitable to apparel manufacturers, has had a detrimental effect on the environment. As production processes became more efficient, clothes became more cheaper. Thus, reducing the number of times they are worn before they are discarded. With increasing social media outreach, one can estimate that clothes will be discarded at a much faster rate in the near future.
    To combat this, regulating bodies need to step in and establish rules to ensure that manufacturers recycle clothes when possible. As most manufacturers of apparel are in the developing Asian countries with bureaucratic governments, a regulatory body overseeing the world’s textile production becomes even more important. Companies should focus on research to improve the recyclability of clothes to both reduce costs and protect the environment.

  58. Soumya Ajmera says:

    Now are the times when even though companies create the most efficient supply chain network, the environmental impacts of their innovation and strategy must always be considered and given equal weightage as any other technical factor. And, it should be the shared responsibility of all the parties that get impacted by the manufacturing and use of specific products to ensure sustainable practices. When it comes to fashion products, there is a segment of consumers who, if enlightened about the impact of their fashion habits, would try to change their ways for the welfare of the environment and in fact, take pride in doing that. But there is also going to be a segment of consumers, who wouldn’t really care, as they might not feel very passionate about environmental causes. For them, companies can create surveys in various forms to analyze their psychology associated with fashion products to design certain incentives that make them adopt sustainable practices. The involvement of regulatory bodies, even the government for that matter, will definitely help in maintaining initiatives that promote environment-friendly practices.

  59. Haowei Lai says:

    I believe fast fashion is the only reason for such an impact. Surely, outdated fashion products might be disposed because of trends, however the fashion market only makes up for a rather small portion of the clothes market, where the majority of sales are still contributed by casual, business and event demands. For the environmental impact caused by such an industry, the cost should be shared between consumers and manufactures.
    Manufacturers should not to provided incentives to to reuse clothing fibers because that implies transferring the environmental costs to the public, and giving the industry ease, which would delay advancements in better recycling and management methods.
    The government can help establish plans and networks to help reduce waste of fiber. This can be done through more accurate analysis of the market and more transparent sharing of information.

  60. Matt Wright says:

    As long as there are evolving fashion trends, there will be an interest in following these short term trends. This applies to both “fast fashion” in the case of Zara as well as traditional fashion channels. The more that consumers care about how they look and the more informed they are about the newest trends in fashion, the more they will replace clothing with more fashion-forward items. Charging consumers for the impact of their clothing would be difficult, as those who want to keep up with trends would pay the premiums imposed in such a model. As consumers become more informed about the action of corporations from which they purchase, and as environmentalism plays a strong role in younger generations, companies should implement recycling efforts in order to ensure their brand will appeal to these groups. Incentives to reuse fibres would be another way to implement this change, and rewarding consumers who return their clothes, whether it be through discounts, points, or other benefits, could bring about additional change. A circular economy may emerge over time with the changing preferences of customers, but a government-led effort could speed up this process and sooner implement more wide-spread recycling efforts.

  61. lvargass says:

    I don’t think Fast fashion is the main reason, but for sure has a big impact in the increase of units being manufacture every year, but the main issue its related of how the textile manufacturing has been designed, the whole process of getting raw material, the emissions from factories running, emission of freight, etc., and the lack of a circular systems to close the loop of the whole industry. As well, our society has become consumerist, where people are used to show what they wear social media creating silly stereotypes to not be seen wearing same clothes twice.
    The manufacturers would need to start from the beginning, designing products that would allow them to reuse and bring back to production all the clothing that released to the market. This would not only be positive to decrease the carbon footprint of their industry, but also would impact positively in the cost of raw materials.
    If governments where more involved and took actions to incentivize companies to change to circular economies, this process of changing the industry to one that is environmentally conscious, would really have an important impact in the efforts that a few companies are working on and the positives results in the environment would start to be more visible.

  62. Sheng-Yang, Chou says:

    Usually, fast fashion relies on the continuous design of products. The fashion industry has responded to the need to develop more sustainable fashion options and eco-friendly fashion production. And I think the government should play an important role in creating a circular economy for clothing. Governments and manufacturers should coordinate together to reduce environmental impact. By doing so, it would not only be a win-win situation for them but also more importantly for the future of our own planet.

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