The fashion and textile industry is one of the major polluting industries in the world. It is known that during its manufacture, large amounts of water containing hazardous chemicals are discharged as waste. Almost 20% of industrial water pollution in the world is associated with dyeing and processing of textile products. This is also true for textile materials that we consider the most innocent. Also, it is estimated that about half a million tons of plastic microfibers are sent into the oceans each year during the washing of plastic-based textiles. In addition to all this, the extremely large carbon footprint of the textile industry extends beyond the use of raw materials.
For these reasons, environmental sustainability is not an option, but a necessity for textile and fashion manufacturers. The negative effects of the textile industry are becoming more transparent for consumers and it affects consumer awareness. This situation also affects the profit shares of businesses that cannot respond to the needs and carries the risk of losing the reputation for brands. In other words, companies’ sustainability efforts are becoming important not only for economic and environmental factors, but also for their reputation.
However, saying “We are a sustainable and environmentally conscious brand” is not enough to convince the consumer. Manufacturers and brands need to convince the customer about their choice of raw materials, processing methods and waste management. The whole process from production to the delivery of the product to the customer should be renewed and made environmentally sensitive.
If we want to explain the eco-friendly solutions simply textile producers have to:
- reduce water and energy consumption during washing and dyeing of textile products;
- minimize waste generation and make waste reusable;
- increase efficiency in production processes;
- minimize the use of hazardous chemicals;
- increase the production of long-lasting products (slow-fashion).
The mentioned suggestions for the solution; Although there are innovations that need to be implemented during the production phase, what needs to be done in the name of environmental sustainability after product production cannot be ignored. The same sensitivity should be observed at every stage of the garment until reaching the end customer.