The global apparel industry is a significant yet overlooked source of plastic leakage

This new article presents a thorough evaluation of plastic pollution originating from the global apparel industry and takes into account the entire lifecycle of apparel, from production and manufacturing to use, second life, and disposal.

It underscores the urgent need for comprehensive and integrated sustainability strategies within the apparel industry. Current global efforts to reduce plastic emissions, including the development of the UN Treaty on plastic pollution, must extend their focus to include the apparel sector.

Key-Highlights from the report:

  • Global Apparel Consumption: Estimated at 32 million tons in 2019, with synthetic apparel accounting for 15 million tons, cotton for 15 million tons, and other fibers for 2.6 million tons.
  • Plastic Waste Generation: The global apparel sector produced 21 million tons of plastic waste in 2019 alone.
  • Microplastic Pollution: The synthetic apparel value chain is responsible for 89% of microplastic waste generated by the apparel industry.
  • Plastic Leakage: Our study estimates that the global apparel industry’s plastic leakage in 2019 reached 8.3 million tons.
  • Export and Waste Management: As synthetic apparel is often exported to regions with inadequate waste management, it is imperative for textile brands and governments to include secondary markets in their sustainability strategies.



EA – Earth Action

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