Very polluting, polyester is used twice as much as it was 20 years ago!

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Present in half of the fabrics, polyester is an integral part of “fast fashion”, this low-cost textile fashion. This was also the subject of a report published recently by an NGO, criticizing this practice. The point is that polyester production could double in less than a decade.

Over 40 million tonnes produced per year

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting in the world. It generates no less than 10% of global carbon emissions, which is even more than maritime traffic and air traffic. Research is currently being carried out to reduce this pollution. In 2020, a designer, for example, developed a new fabric made from algae that could represent a revolution in the world of textiles. However, it is obvious that all actors in this field must absolutely make efforts. In 2019, around thirty large fashion groups joined the “Fashion pact” to preserve the environment.

However, everything seems to move too slowly, according to a report titled Fossil mode published by the NGO Changing Markets Foundation on February 2, 2021. According to this organization, polyester is twice as much used as twenty years ago. Remember that the term “polyester” is a category comprising more than ten polymers for an annual production exceeding forty million tonnes. This synthetic artificial material is derived from petroleum, and therefore very polluting, just like its manufacturing process.

Credit: Changing Markets Foundation

A call to the EU

According to the NGO Changing Markets Foundation, supported by the collective No Plastic In My Sea, “fast fashion” is largely responsible. This is a low cost fashion sector regularly renewing its collections. The report highlights the growing dependence of this fashion on fossil fuels. The document also details the various undesirable environmental impacts, the climate as well as human health.

Annual production of polyester pollutes as many as 180 coal-fired power stations. However, the NGO estimates that by 2030, this same production could double. In addition, the report mentions machine washes, responsible for the release of hundreds of thousands of plastic microfibers. However, these microplastics end their race in the oceans, rivers, but also in the air we breathe.

The purpose of the report is simple. He asks the European Union to put a stop to overproduction from “fast fashion”. Ideally, regulations should be put in place for the production of synthetic textiles, similar to those for single-use plastics.

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