VIP Class Notes (Lily) [R]

Vocabulary

_    underscore

landfill=  a place with mountains of garbage
ex: a lot of clothes will go to landfill because people don’t recycle.

disposable= one time use
ex: the doctors must use disposable gloves when they perform surgeries.
ex: Some people travel with disposable underwear.

Reading

There’s nothing quite like new clothes, is there? The UK certainly loves them. According to a report by the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), the UK consumes five times more clothes today than it did in the 1980s. That’s more than any other nation in Europe and amounts to around 26.7kgs per person. This results in 235 million garments going to landfill – victims of fast fashion.

Fast fashion is defined as “an accelerated fashion business model” involving “increased numbers of new fashion collections every year”, “quick turnarounds” and “lower prices”, according to the EAC. Globalisation means that attire is made in countries where labour is cheaper. This saving is passed on to consumers, who then consider the garb they own disposable – easily replaceable with something more on-trend. And that creates problems.

First, there’s the environmental cost. Manufacturing any kind of textile costs resources. For example, synthetic fibres, which are made from plastic, have a larger carbon footprint than natural ones. Natural fibres, although more carbon-efficient, still require more water to grow. And further resources are used as the cloth is dyed, made into clothing and transported to retail for sale. Secondly, the fast-fashion industry is under pressure to put the latest trending items on shelves fast, which can lead to workers being exploited and forced to labour in poor working conditions. In countries such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia and the Philippines, workers are paid wages that are insufficient to live on. One worker in Ethiopia told the BBC that they had to deal with intolerable conditions, such as withheld overtime payments, verbal abuse, and unsanitary toilets.

So what can be done in the UK to reduce clothes waste? The EAC has recommended eighteen improvements to the UK government, from increasing tax on purchases to fund recycling centres to introducing more sewing lessons in schools, encouraging a make do and mend attitude when things become threadbare.

What can we do? Shop “secondhand and vintage,” recommends Tolly Gregory, an ethical fashion blogger. Kristabel Plummer, a London-based fashion blogger, who spoke to the BBC, also recommends “looking for quality” and “longevity”. So keep an eye out for durable, resilient, hardy apparel that resists wear and tear.