Fashion is one of the largest polluting industries today, the World Bank estimates it is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions. Roughly 100 billion garments are produced every year but only 80 billion sold meaning 20% of all clothes produced end up in landfill. Even the clothes that are purchased will in all probability end up being thrown away as only 1% is recycled.
The simplest definition for sustainability is to use natural resources responsibly today, so they are available for future generations tomorrow. Amy Powney (creative director of Mother of Pearl) explains it as putting people and the planet into the equation equally rather than focusing solely on profits.
A closed-loop system is where a product is made, sold, used, collected and recycled repeatedly with no waste in an ideal situation.
For more developments look out for the new monthly column “The Green Dream” in Vogue by Dana Thomas.
The problem with Nylon
Nylon is made from a non-renewable resource, crude oil, in an energy-intensive process. It sheds microplastic fibres that end up in waterways and oceans every time it is washed, and because it is not biodegradable, it will end up sitting in a landfill at the end of its product life cycle. Producing nylon creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In addition, the manufacturing process uses huge amounts of water and energy contributing to global warming and environmental degradation. Large amounts of water are required to cool the fibres which can cause contamination and pollution of local waterways.
When recycling nylon the benefits to the environment are immense. For every 10,000 tonnes of PRUECO an estimated 70,000 barrels of crude oil are saved. This results in estimates of 71%-80% less energy usage and a 69%-76% reduction in Carbon Dioxide emissions. In addition, 54%-58% less water is used in the process. The original nylon is sourced from textile offcuts and in PRUECO’s case ocean and landfill waste.