We are literally burying ourselves alive in gently used clothing. According to a recent story from Supply Chain Dive, textile waste is up a whopping 811 percent since 1960. And the majority of that waste is winding up in landfills.
Citing EPA data, the story said that in 1960, textile waste “totaled more than 1.7 million tons,” but by 2015, that volume “grew to more than 16 million tons.”
And while there are definitely more people today than there were back then, population growth pales in comparison to what Supply Chain Dive calls “utilization of clothing.” As the story said, “the average number of times a piece of clothing is worn before being discarded… has decreased 36% in the last 15 years.”
Additionally, it “doesn’t help that a lot of the ‘fast fashion’ clothing is not very well made and might not last through more than a few washes before ending up in the landfill,” the story said.
And even though the majority of textile waste is generated by consumers, brands bear some of the responsibility, too. As the story noted, “H&M and Burberry have admitted in the past to burning millions of dollars worth of unsold merchandise.”
Until consumer behavior changes or recycled fibers become easier to source, however, the story said that ”clothing will likely continue to head to the landfill in record numbers.”
You can read more about it at Supply Chain Dive.