One of the biggest environmental issues that the fashion industry has to face is the production of waste. After all, most garments are made out of different pattern pieces that were laid flat on a piece of fabric and cut to then be sewn together into the finished garment. Due to the development of technology lay planning has tremendously improved over the past decades. Not using CAD (Computer Aided Design) or CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) nowadays is almost unthinkable.
But still, with this method a lot of waste is produced every single time. While there are other methods like integral knitting which I will go into detail in a future post, few companies have adopted a Zero Waste Philosophy. I believe the first time I came across this term was a while back through a video by the Cambodian company tonlé:
Judging from their products the company is rather targeting an older demographic. As a (poor) university student I am personally not very likely to be their customer but their concept is simply incredible. This is definite proof that creating a zero waste company is actually implementable. And hopefully, more businesses will adopt a similar philosophy in the future. Not only is this a sustainable approach regarding environmental issues but at the same time it is a big step to save a lot of money.
What can we do as consumers?
As consumers we can only influence the retailers and their supply chain slowly. But there are still things we can adapt instantly in our everyday lives. The zero waste lifestyle has been present for quite a long time already and is becoming increasingly popular. The practice of Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot lead to things like avoiding packaging and plastic, reusing things and buying in bulk to achieve less to no waste. And regarding fashion, the easiest way is towards a zero waste approach is buying things second hand and making every single piece last as long as possible. Our consumption of textiles is increasing annually but according to waste online more than 1 million tonnes of textiles end up in landfill every single year. Broken down, this means a waste of fibres, yarns, water, chemicals, energy and labour. Instead of being a throw-away society we should try to focus on what we need and already have and treat everything more sustainably. For a guide on sustainable shopping check you can have a look here.
Have you heard of zero waste before? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Sources and further information:
- tonlé, Website
- Zero Waste Home, Blog
- Woman Shares Her Zero Waste Lifestyle Experience, Youtube
- Waste Online, Website
- Ethical Fashion Forum, Article
- Eco Fashion: 5 Steps to Sustainable & Ethical Consumption, Blog Post