The true cost of fashion - natural fabrics vs synthetic fabrics


One of the things most lamented when the topic of the impact of the fashion industry on the environment comes up, is the contribution of the fibres used to make our clothes. Both in terms of the harmful chemicals used to make the fabrics, as well as the biodegradability, or lack thereof, of the garments once they reach end of life and potentially end up in landfills. 

Natural fibres, like wool and cotton, may often be preferred over synthetic fibres like polyester that do not biodegrade, and could apparently take up to 200 years to break down (still leaving micro particles in the environment).

So why then do we use these synthetic fabrics? Well, they may be relatively cheaper to begin with, but as technological advances emerge some of these may prove to be particularly advantageous when blended with natural fabrics to improve the performance and longevity of our garments. In addition, recycled polyester can be seen as more sustainable than manufacturing new polyester, or allowing the existing to be discarded, ending up in landfills.

On the issue of micro particles, another factor contributing to polyester's  pollution can come from microplastics that enter our oceans from when we do laundry. Fibres shed during the laundry process, and unless we use special purpose laundry bags designed to catch these fibres, they land up in our oceans. As consumers, this one area where our small efforts can help build the momentum towards a sustainable consumption of fashion. 

The Guppyfriend is one such laundry bag, and it is widely available at a steal of a price! With very little effort (just pop your clothes in the bag), you can make a huge positive step into reducing ocean pollution. An added benefit of a laundry bag of course is that it means a gentler wash for your clothes, helping them last longer! 

As we all aim to consume less and consume more consciously, it is always a dream when a practical, easy to implement solution is ready available to consumers. We hope you’ll consider  picking one of these up next time you do your shopping! 


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