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The importance of Biodegradable fashion.

Words By Varnika Srivastava


The benefits of using biodegradable benefits are many. When opposed to petroleum-based polymers, the manufacturing of biodegradable plastics produces considerably less pollution. When biodegradable polymers degrade, they decompose into benign, harmless components.

Only 32% of the greenhouse gases released by petroleum-based polymers are produced by them. Biodegradable polymers use just 35% of the energy required to manufacture petroleum-based plastics. The manufacturing of petroleum-based polymers necessitates the usage of 200,000 barrels of oil each day. Using non-petroleum-based plastics can help to lessen our reliance on nonrenewable resources. Biodegradable polymers produced from organic materials have the potential to significantly reduce trash. These plastics can be composted instead of being disposed of in landfills. Fertilizer may be made from the compost that is generated. Biodegradable products aren’t the sole way to solve landfill problems or address global environmental challenges. However, it is a part of a comprehensive solution that includes actions such as reduced consumption, product reuse, and recycling.

Rise of biodegradable fashion

Biodegradable fashion has become a popular alternative to fast fashion. The fast fashion business, infamous for breaking apart after a few washes, violating human rights, and damaging the environment, is a contemporary power to be reckoned with. But that doesn’t have to be the way garments are made in the future. Biodegradable fashion innovation might help the industry become more sustainable. Even without any measures to preserve it, the breakdown process of garments is understandably sluggish. Vintage and traditional clothing and accessories are made to last and withstand years of use. Then came the age of fast fashion and synthetic textiles, which made it acceptable to employ chemicals and colors to prolong the life of even biodegradable materials. The landfills have become even more congested as a result of this. Every year, 350,000 tonnes of old clothes end up in landfills in the United Kingdom. Every year, more than 20 billion of the 32 billion new garments manufactured for the US market meet the same destiny. Clothes made of non-biodegradable materials such as polyester, spandex, and nylon can take anywhere from 20 to 200 years to biodegrade. To counteract this negative impact, biodegradable fashion has arisen as a new source of hope that has the potential to clear landfills and reduce the amount of trash created by the fashion industry globally. The industry has discovered a middle ground on ethical fashion that does not affect the environment, from infusing biology into design to attaining sustainability via technology. 

Greenpeace published a list of the eleven most dangerous and polluting toxic chemicals used in clothing manufacturing in 2012: alkylphenols, phthalates, brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, azoic dyes, organotin compounds, perfluorinated chemicals, chlorobenzenes, chlorinated solvents, chlorophenols, and short chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCP). As a response, the NGO established a Detox Campaign, enlisting the help of 80 fashion brands to pledge to remove these chemicals from their supply chains by 2020. The ZDHC initiative (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) is a coalition of fashion companies and industry groups

whose major goal is to eradicate hazardous chemicals from textile, leather, and footwear fashion garments across the whole value chain. Another step aimed at encouraging sustainable fashion is the use of ecological certifications, which provide an organic quality stamp that certifies that the firm that has it is devoted to environmental preservation and care.

Let’s have a look at a few examples:

Standard for Organic Textiles in the World (GOTS)- It guarantees that at least 70% of the clothing is made from organic fibers. It also tests dyes and other chemical goods, and it refuses to accept fibers from genetically engineered plants. It is the most widely recognized accreditation.

IVN Certified Naturtextil- This European certifying body is highly rigorous and ensures that the clothes are completely natural.

Other certifications include Oeko-Tex, OE (Organic Exchange), CCS (Content Claim Standard), OCS (Organic Content Standard), and IMO (International Maritime Organization) (Institute of Marketecology). 

Although biodegradable clothing is significantly more environmentally friendly, there is no such thing as zero effect clothes. This is why we must also appeal to the conscience of consumers, who have simple tools at their disposal to reduce the fashion industry’s negative impact: extending the life of garments, handing them over to organizations that can give them a second life, or placing them in specially designed containers. 

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