Britain's 'fast fashion' epidemic sells two tonnes of clothes a minute


‘Fast fashion’ is driving climate change: Two tonnes of clothes are purchased on the UK’s high streets every MINUTE – producing 50 tonnes of carbon emissions

  • Oxfam report found that two tonnes of clothing is bought in the UK every minute 
  • This equates to a total of 50 tonnes of carbon emissions from an item’s lifespan 
  • Charity says the poorest people in the world are suffering more than the rich 

The UK’s fast fashion epidemic is producing more than 50 tonnes of carbon emissions every minute.

Oxfam has released a report detailing the severity of the ongoing crisis within the fashion industry which is a global leader in greenhouse gas emissions. 

It found that the obsession with short-lived fashion trends is causing the same amount of carbon emissions every two minutes as driving a car around the world six times.

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Each week, 11 million garments end up in landfill in the UK and it is driven by a constant splurging on new clothes. The textile supply chain is a major contributor to global warming

Each week, 11 million garments end up in landfill in the UK and it is driven by a constant splurging on new clothes. The textile supply chain is a major contributor to global warming 

The statistics are based on lifetime emissions for new clothing bought in the UK. 

It accounts for the sourcing of raw materials, manufacturing, production, transport, washing and disposal. 

According to Oxfam, a six-time trip around the world (150,000 miles) creates 50 tonnes of carbon emissions – the same as a single minute on Britain’s high streets. 

Oxfam says the poorest people in the world, who did the least to cause climate change, are suffering most.

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The richest 10 per cent of world are responsible for around 50 per cent of global emissions, while the poorest half are responsible for 10 per cent.

Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam’s chief executive said: ‘These staggering facts about fashion’s impact on the planet and the world’s poorest people should make us all think twice before buying something new to wear.

‘We are in a climate emergency – we can no longer turn a blind eye to the emissions produced by new clothes or turn our backs on garment workers paid a pittance who are unable to earn their way out of poverty no matter how many hours they work.’ 

Buying one new white cotton shirt produces the same amount of emissions as driving a car for 35 miles.

A 100 per cent cotton shirt, weighing just 220 grams, amounts to 23.7lbs (10.75kg) of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

The study was commissioned by Oxfam for its Second Hand September campaign, where consumers pledge not to buy anything new for the whole month. 

Not only is the textile industry one of world’s major polluters, many of its products end up thrown away.

According to Oxfam, a six-time trip around the world (150,000 miles) creates 50 tonnes of carbon emissions - the same as a single minute on Britain's high streets. Oxfam says the poorest people in the world, who did the least to cause climate change, are suffering most

According to Oxfam, a six-time trip around the world (150,000 miles) creates 50 tonnes of carbon emissions – the same as a single minute on Britain’s high streets. Oxfam says the poorest people in the world, who did the least to cause climate change, are suffering most

Each week, 11 million garments end up in landfill in the UK.

Mr Sriskandarajah added: ‘As consumers, it’s in our power to make a real difference.

‘Buying second-hand clothes helps to slow the ferocious fast-fashion cycle, giving garments a second lease of life.

‘By taking part in Second Hand September, we are also sending a clear message to the clothing industry that we don’t want to buy clothes that harm our planet and the people in it.

‘Together we can make a difference and help reduce fast fashion’s impact on people and the environment.’ 

WHAT ARE THE UK’S PLANS FOR ‘NET ZERO’ CARBON EMISSIONS?

Plans for the UK to become ‘carbon’ neutral by 2050 were released by Theresa May‘s government on June 12, 2019.

However, experts are concerned over how the proposals will work.

The report commits to ensuring that the emissions generated by the UK are offset by removing the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere.

There are two main ways this can be achieved – by planting more trees and by installing ‘carbon capture’ technology at the source of the pollution.

Some critics are worried that this first option will be used by the government to export it’s carbon offsetting to other countries.

International carbon credits let nations continue emitting carbon while paying for trees to be planted elsewhere, balancing out their emissions.

Some argue that the scheme is a way for developed nations to shirk their environmental obligations, by passing them to poor and developing countries.

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