About half of the clothes sold by major online fashion brands such that Boohoo and Asos are made entirely from virgin plastics such as polyester, despite efforts to reduce huge environmental impact of the fashion industry .
An analysis of 10,000 items added to the Asos, Boohoo, Missguided and PrettyLittleThing websites for a fortnight in May found an average of 49% were made entirely from new plastics such as polyester, acrylic and nylon. In some stores, only 1% contained recycled fabric, according to the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) study.
The rapid fashion boom has doubled the use of synthetic fibers, made from fossil fuels, in the past 20 years. These "cheap" materials, said Josie Warden, RSA's head of regenerative design and co-author of the report, had fueled an "explosion of quick and disposable fashion.
" These fabricThey may be cheap at the point of sale, but they are part of a petrochemical economy that is fueling uncontrollable climate change and pollution, "she added." large amounts of energy. "
The climate crisis has increased pressure on the fashion industry to amend . In the UK 300,000 tonnes of clothing is burned or buried each year , leading brands such as PrettyLittleThing and Missguided to be criticized for encouraging unsustainable consumption with gadgets like the 8p dresses and 1 £ bikinis .
Some young shoppers may not realize how different types of fabrics are made, the report suggests.
The sheer volume of clothing produced by the websites was "shocking," said Warden, who suggested that consumers view these synthetic fabrics as part of the same problem as plastic packaging. single-use plastic.
"We can no longer use plastics to create poorly made clothes that are designed to be worn only a handful of times. These use large amounts of energy and create environmental damage in their production, and can take thousands of years to break down, ”she said.
"Other materials, such ascotton and viscose, can also create environmental problems, so ultimately the scale of production has to change. "
After revelations of poor wages and conditions in some of the factories he used, Boohoo , owner from PrettyLittleThing, has embarked on a complete overhaul of its supply chain. With 80% of her clothing made from cotton or polyester, she is committed that by 2025 these fabrics will either be recycled or more sustainable.
A spokesperson for Missguided said the brand has significantly reduced its use of virgin plastic, but agreed that" there is more to do. " He stated that 10% dIts products would use recycled fibers by the end of 2021 and 25% by the end of 2022.
Asos action highlighted he was taking, including using more recycled synthetics and sustainable cotton and introducing a responsible modification to guide buyers to clothing made with sustainable materials.
RSA is requesting a "plastics tax " per item on clothing imported or produced in the UK to the using virgin plastics, although in 2019 the the government rejected the recommendationsMembers of Parliament introduce a tax of 1 pence per item of clothing. More simply, it suggests that consumers buy less and make less impulse purchases.