Pollution is the major problem all over the world. There are many industries that contribute to this pollution. But do you know that the clothes that you wear are one of the biggest reasons for the growing pollution? Yes, you heard it right. According to reports, the fashion industry holds the second place for being the most polluting industry in the world. Research says, 20% of global waste is generated from the fashion industry. Along with this, the industry is also responsible for 10% of global carbon dioxide emission which is extremely harmful to the living creatures. However, after realising how much pollution this industry is causing, experts are trying to come up with the sustainable solutions. Scientists all over the world are working extensively to decrease the pollution level generated from the fashion industry.
Growing demand for synthetic fibres
Textile industry pollutes our essential resources, i.e. air, water, and soil. But, clothes being the basic necessity cannot be thrown out from the mainstream production. Hence, efforts are required to find the best alternatives to reduce the pollution. Before that, let’s talk about the reason behind pollution. One of the main reasons of this pollution is the fibre that is being used in the garments these days. During the earlier days, natural fibres were used in the manufacturing of clothes. These clothes were known as bio-based fibre clothes. But in the modern era, manufacturers have started using synthetic fibres to quell the demand of the consumers at cheaper rates.
Polyester is the most used synthetic textile fibre in the fashion industry. The components that get used in the manufacturing of polyester fiber are air, water, coal, and petroleum. Coal and petroleum being the major components generate a large number of air pollutants. Like polyester, there are many other synthetic fibres that are used in the textile industry that discharge a heavy amount of pollutants.
What is Biodegradable Textile?
If the clothes that we use do not get decomposed after we dispose them, they add to the problem of landfill. To reduce this high amount of waste, fashion experts have come up with some avant-garde fabrics that easily gets decomposed. These are the biodegradable fabrics. Are you wondering about what does biodegradable fabric mean? To put it into simple words, the fabrics that get destroyed slowly by any mode natural decomposing method, are called biodegradable fabrics. The advantage of using such a fabric is that it reduces the amount of wastes that textile industry produces every day. Most importantly, no pesticide and chemicals are used in the manufacturing of these biodegradable materials. Many people confuse the term biodegradable with bio-based. There are many bio-based fabrics that do not get broken down into small pieces easily and do not fall under the category of biodegradable textile. Some bio-based fabrics lose their decomposing ability after being dyed in several chemicals. For example, fabrics made of non-organic cotton, do not get decomposed easily because of the large amount of applied chemicals.
There is no contradiction in making a statement that biodegradable fabric is the new future of the fashion industry.
The Relationship Between Smart Cities and Biodegradable Textile
Different people have a unique perception of a smart city in their mind and it cannot be defined or bounded with a standard definition. Smart cities are in many ways responsible for pollution that gets generated from the textile industry. According to reports, from 2000-2015, the consumption of polyester in clothes has increased by 157% due to the demand and over-consumption of fast and cheap clothes. The dwellers of smart cities often get shocked hearing the amount of waste and pollution their favourite clothing industry is spreading around the world. When the word ‘pollution’ comes to our mind we think about the power plants, raw sewage system, different types of noisy crackers. But the textile industry waste is one of the major contributor to the new era of industrial development in smart cities having its adverse effect on both flora and fauna.
Owing to the severe impacts, smart cities are now exploring the sustainable fronts with the help of biodegradable textile. With the advancement in technology, availability of required resources, the city planners are all set to experiment with the new fabric on a larger scale.
To decrease the pollution caused by the fashion industry and increase the awareness among the mass, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)-FAO’s (Food and Agriculture Organization) has taken an initiative called ‘Forest for Fashion’. This initiative is to deliver knowledge to the aspiring designers and textile companies to make fashion items from wood.
Eco-friendly alternatives for fashion
To reduce the amount of pollution generated, textile industries are working with some of the sustainable alternatives of synthetic fibre. To mention a few below is the list:
Have you ever thought about wearing a shirt made of milk? Many people will snort at the very thought but fabrics made of milk has been around us since the 1930’s. Earlier a considerable amount of chemicals were used in getting fabrics from milk solids. But with the advanced technological innovations, the inclusion of chemicals is not required anymore. Milk has made its place in biodegradable textile due to its ability to consume minimal water. It feels as smooth as silk and dries quicker than cotton. The only disadvantage of the fabric made out of milk is that the residual milk goes in the drain as it cannot be used in any kind of edible products.
Coffee is something that soothes our body and mind on a cold winter day. But it is more fascinating to know that you can even wrap yourself in the attire made out of coffee. Talking about the facts involved in clothes can be made from the leftover coffee grounds. The most important benefit of this technology is, the coffee you put in the trash can be reused in making clothes. Isn’t it amazing? Not only drinking coffee makes your inside warm, but also wearing it in the form of clothes does the same. The clothes made of coffee ground can be a very good choice for winters.
Are you one of those people who need a glass of wine at the end of the day to ease the day’s hard work? Wine is another bioproduct that is being used in the fashion industry with a varied application. Wine provides a nice hue to the clothes and fabrics made of wine are manufactured easily and are organically good for the environment. The only disadvantage of this fabric is the odour that wine leaves in these fabrics. However, recycling the waste materials is a great way to say no to pollution and yes to a healthy life.
With people being more aware and environmentally conscious, the use of biodegradable materials in the fashion industry is growing day by day. But we have still a long way to cover to make our world a pollution free habitat. After reading this article if you want to do an environmental friendly shopping, you should stress on buying clothes made of biodegradable materials.