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posted by chromas on Wednesday June 03 2020, @02:02AM   Printer-friendly
from the life-in-plastic,-it's-fantastic dept.

'Plastic-free' fashion is not as clean or green as it seems:

We have all become more aware of the environmental impact of our clothing choices. The fashion industry has seen a rise in "green," "eco" and "sustainable" clothing. This includes an increase in the use of natural fibres, such as wool, hemp, and cotton, as synthetic fabrics, like polyester, acrylic and nylon, have been vilified by some.

However, the push to go "natural" obscures a more complex picture.

Natural fibres in fashion garments are products of multiple transformation processes, most of which are reliant on intensive manufacturing as well as advanced chemical manipulation.

While they are presumed to biodegrade, the extent to which they do has been contested by a handful of studies. Natural fibres can be preserved over centuries and even millennia in certain environments. Where fibres are found to degrade they may release chemicals, for example from dyes, into the environment.

Perhaps the real threat to the environment is over-consumption.


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @03:02AM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @03:02AM (#1002562)

    The original article smells like it was written by someone with a paid agenda. It's vaguely reminiscent of those pro tobacco pieces the industry used to pay for.
    Hmm... which is better, clothes that come from natural materials that rot, or some synthetic plastic that sheds fibers all over the place and NEVER rots? I think I know which the animal life of earth can live with better. Spare us the microplastic.

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  • (Score: 1) by petecox on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:33AM (1 child)

    by petecox (3228) on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:33AM (#1002621)

    It seems like a long bow to suggest we should stop buying cotton because of the ecological disaster that is the Aral dustbowl.

    Everyone seemed fine for millennia with wool, leather and silk until #veganpride ?

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @07:51AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @07:51AM (#1002646)

      It seems like a long bow to suggest we should stop buying cotton because of the ecological disaster that is the Aral dustbowl.

      The ecological disaster is what we make of it, because it needs to be cheap. You can grow cotton that isn't an ecological disaster if you count in all th external costs (which are now being paid by mother nature), it will be much more expensive (both financially and labour wise)... but at least you don't harm the environment.

      A lot of things would be much different if those external costs wouldn't be diverted to the environment. I doubt those researchers included the clean up costs of all those plastic fabrics and microplastics that they shed.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:44AM (3 children)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:44AM (#1002622) Homepage Journal

    My thought exactly - these "studies" may have been paid for by the oil industry. Whether that be true or not - natural fibers? What intensive industrial nonsense is required to manufacture everyday clothing? Back in the day, women made all their family's clothing at home. Yes, of course it was sexist. Of course it was time consuming. Yes, of course it was a huge pain in the ass for everyone concerned. But, the fiber was harvested, or sheared, and broght into the barn. The process was probably delayed until all the rest of the harvest for the year was processed - salt the pork, preserve the fruits, etc ad nauseum. As winter set it, everyone would start processing all the fiber in the shed, turning it into thread, then cloth, and finally new shrts and pants and maybe a nice dress.

    Maybe the "fashion" industry needs to take a new look at the way they do things. The use of a lot of chemicals may make the textile industry more profitable. That doesn't mean those chemicals can't be restricted, or even outlawed.

    --
    alles in Ordnung
    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday June 03 2020, @02:58PM (2 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 03 2020, @02:58PM (#1002738) Journal

      What intensive industrial nonsense is required to manufacture everyday clothing? Back in the day, women made all their family's clothing at home.

      I'm not seeing your argument here. "Intensive industrial nonsense" is vastly less intensive than hundreds of millions of women making their own clothing.

      Maybe the "fashion" industry needs to take a new look at the way they do things. The use of a lot of chemicals may make the textile industry more profitable. That doesn't mean those chemicals can't be restricted, or even outlawed.

      Or maybe we don't need to do anything at all? What are the problems that supposedly need fixing?

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday June 03 2020, @09:38PM (1 child)

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 03 2020, @09:38PM (#1002943) Homepage Journal

        Pollution and carbon footprint are the "problems" that need fixing. Eliminate the chemicals as much as possible, and you've accomplished that much. We don't think that pollution is a "good thing", do we?

        --
        alles in Ordnung
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday June 04 2020, @01:17PM

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday June 04 2020, @01:17PM (#1003171) Journal

          Pollution and carbon footprint are the "problems" that need fixing.

          So how does that differ from natural fibers? I'm seeing the point of the story.