There seems to be a trend recently where fashion companies are making clothes out of recycled plastic bottles, which can be forgiven to be seen as an incredible and sustainable concept. The idea is nice, but it defeats the object entirely. Even though plastic is non-biodegradable, particles do break off. So, for example, when you put your “plastic” t-shirt into the wash, the action of the washing machine, or even that of a hand-wash, will break plastic molecules off the fabric and into the water, which goes into the water systems and then into rivers, lakes or the sea/ocean.
Even though these tiny plastic particles are microscopic and won’t choke animals living in water environments, they will still ingest them, meaning, if you eat fish or seafood, that the food you eat will contain plastic. However, even if you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you won’t avoid this plastic pollution, as the plastic molecules that break down in your washing machines could easily end up in your drinking water. Whether you are a human or another animal, ingesting an artificial product such as plastic will be damaging to your body. This is also why some doctors recommend you don’t drink out of plastic bottles, since, besides the single-use plastic issue, the plastic leeches into the water. Plastic has an oestrogenic effect on the body and can facilitate hormonal imbalances and microbiome disfunction, which is the source of your immune system, and is what controls a vast amount of your hormone and enzyme production and regulation.
Just to throw another curveball into the mix: pretty much every pair of jeans, every sock, every pillowcase, every pair of pants and every waterproof item is made from polyester – a plastic fabric. Other man-made plastic fabrics include elastane, nylon and acrylic. The benefit of these plastic fabrics is that they last a very long time, due to its non-biodegradable nature, however, as stated above, it causes a lot of environmental problems and pollution due to our obsession with wanting more and more material possessions.
You may also be aware that cotton production, thanks to its excessive nature, has impacted climate change in a way many of us are completely unaware of. Besides the fact we must cut down on the number of clothes we purchase, I discuss how it is important to own the clothes that we buy in the true meaning of the word. What I mean by this is: don’t just wear an item of clothing, whether it be cotton, wool or leather, just a handful of times and then let it become lost in the darkness of your wardrobe. Now I only buy clothes that I absolutely love, and know will compliment a large proportion of other items in my closet, which are high quality and therefore last for years. If we buy good-quality clothes in small quantities and keep them and use them sustainably and thoroughly, the impact of the fashion industry on pollution should reduce. However, it’s essential that the public put pressure on the fashion companies to stop their polluting ways, such as having factories in countries where waste regulations are so poor that they pump toxic chemicals into the rivers of, usually, poorer, developing countries, and harming the locals who depend on this water supply.