Tech-style’: Futuristic fabrics for a greener fashion industry

18th October, 2021.      //   General Interest, Technology  // 

Israeli vegan 'tech-style' startup making clothes using algae - CNN Style

The drop in garment prices over the last 20 years has allowed us to buy more and more clothes. We now have 5 times more clothes than our grandparents had. It felt great until we found out what was hiding behind this trend.

In reality, this continuous accumulation of cheap garments is only possible because of a constant reduction of production costs. This, in turn, has serious consequences on our health, our planet, and on garment workers’ lives.

Fashion’s Environmental Impacts:

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world just after the oil industry. And the environmental damage is increasing as the industry grows. However, there are solutions and alternatives to mitigate these problems. The first step lies in building awareness and willingness to change.

The fashion industry is a major water consumer. Huge quantity of freshwater is used for the dyeing and finishing process for all of our clothes.  As reference, it can take up to 200 tons of freshwater per ton of dyed fabric. Also, cotton needs A LOT of water to grow (and heat), but is usually cultivated in warm and dry areas. Up to 20,000 liters of water are needed to produce just 1kg of cotton. This generates tremendous pressure on this precious resource, already scarce, and has dramatic ecological consequences such as the desertification of the Aral Sea, where cotton production has entirely drained the water .

In the US, just 15% of textiles are recycled, while the rest are incinerated or sent to landfill. But some innovative startups are coming up with sustainable solutions. Algaeing’s biodegradable algae-based fibers reduce water consumption by up to 80% compared to traditional fabrics.

85 % of the daily needs in water of the entire population would be covered by the water used to grow cotton in the country. 100 million people  do not have access to drinking water.

What about it? Choose fibers with low water consumption such as linen, recycled fibers, etc.

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