Did you know that it takes a lot (a lot!) of water to make just one t-shirt? Then there are the carbon emissions from shipping and all the fabric scraps left from manufacturing.
Yes, most of our clothing, including t-shirts, affects the environment negatively, and that’s a problem since the fashion industry is one of the biggest earth polluters.
To change this, we need to transition to eco-friendly fashion, but we need to understand what makes our choices unsustainable before we do that. What makes a t-shirt non-sustainable?
List of Non-Sustainable Materials
Today we’re focusing on everyone’s favorite garment – a t-shirt and all the things that make it unsustainable.
What makes a t-shirt non-sustainable? There goes a lot into producing a sustainable t-shirt, from the fabric production and materials brands use to fair treatment of workers and even the packaging.
In this article, we’re covering the most problematic t-shirt fabrics full of toxic chemicals and have a massive impact on people, animals, and the planet. Their production also consumes enormous amounts of land, water, and energy.
Besides the fabric, when shopping for the best t-shirt or any other piece of clothing, you also need to look into the “cost per wear,” meaning how much money, energy, and resources are required per single wear.
The longer you wear it, the smaller the impact on the environment and your wallet! You can buy eco-friendly t-shirts online at FreshCleanTees.com.
What makes a t-shirt non-sustainable? Polyester is one of the most common textiles in t-shirt production. Unfortunately, it’s non-biodegradable and to break it can take up to 200 years!
Polyester is made mainly from oil that emits massive amounts of greenhouse gases in production. Various chemical dyes which can cause harm to animals, plants, and humans are also used in the manufacturing process leading to massive pollution of waterways.
Besides that, polyester releases microplastics into the environment. Did you know that each polyester washing cycle might release mini plastic fibers of over 700,000 in quantity into our rivers and oceans and harm sensitive ecosystems?
What makes a t-shirt non-sustainable? You’ve probably been wearing cotton tees since early childhood. This natural fabric, if produced in a non-organic manner, affects our environment immensely.
Thousands of liters of water are needed to make one cotton t-shirt. Besides that, various chemicals and dyes used in the production end up in our nature, affecting entire ecosystems and ruining biodiversity and soil fertility.
Cotton production accounts for 16% of all insecticides, 7% of all herbicides, and 4% of all nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers worldwide.
Organic cotton is different as the production doesn’t use hazardous chemicals, is GMO-free, and uses mainly water from rainfalls, which reduces pressure on local water sources.
While rayon has been touted as a more sustainable alternative to polyester or cotton, it’s not that simple.
Yes, it uses natural cellulose, but also a ton of chemicals in production. It also uses large amounts of water and energy.
The chemicals end up in our waters and soil, and the cut-down trees used in production cause habitat loss and threaten various species.
What makes a t-shirt non-sustainable? Same as rayon, bamboo is produced similarly and is often marketed as an eco-friendly alternative; however, it also uses chemical-intensive processes that harm our environment and ourselves.
That includes various bleaches and dyes used to make clothing “wrinkle-free,” etc. Wearing such clothes can also harm us directly through the skin and cause various health conditions.
Acetate is also made from cellulose and is a semi-synthetic, and its production involves the use of various toxic solvents.
The toxic materials endanger workers’ health and cause damage to our waterways.
Acetate fiber production is also generally connected with huge deforestation. It isn’t actually sustainable or eco-friendly.