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Article: Fashion, environment and awareness

Moda, ambiente e consapevolezza

Fashion, environment and awareness

How much did you pay for the clothes in your closet? If you have receipts, you can calculate it. However, behind every dress, pair of jeans, shirt and sock there is a cost that goes unnoticed by most people: the cost to the environment .

The environment is our most precious asset and for this reason it is our responsibility to take care of the planet. To do this we must pay attention to our purchases as every product we bring home generates an impact in terms of consumption . Each sector contributes a carbon footprint in its own way. However, the clothing industry is often regarded as the most polluting. Just take a look at the following statistics, published by UNEP and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to get an idea:

- Every year the fashion industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water , enough to meet the consumption needs of five million people.

- About 20% of wastewater worldwide comes from dyeing and treating textiles.

- Of the total fiber used for clothing, 87% is incinerated or disposed of in landfill.

- The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions , more than all international flights and shipping combined. At this rate, greenhouse gas emissions from the fashion industry will increase by more than 50% by 2030.

- Every year half a million tons of plastic microfibers are dumped into the ocean , the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles. The danger? Microfibers cannot be extracted from water and can spread throughout the food chain.

What to do then? It is possible to choose well by informing yourself and trying to understand what is best for the environment . Did you know, for example, that 52% (1.22 kg) of a T-shirt's total carbon footprint depends on how you wear, wash, iron and dry it?

The carbon footprint is in fact the most consolidated method for determining the climate impact of a product. During the entire life cycle of a product, from the extraction of raw materials, through the numerous daily activities that concern its management, to recycling or disposal, significant impacts for the climate occur in the form of gas emissions greenhouse. The unit of measurement of the carbon footprint is the kilo or ton of CO2. It helps to identify, analyze and, with the right measures, reduce or (ideally) completely avoid these impacts.

To give an example, 1 ton of CO2 weighs as much as 10 baby elephants or an adult giraffe and would occupy the same space as a swimming pool 10 m wide, 25 m long and 2 m deep! What does 1 ton of CO2 produce? 4,428 km by car or 16,093 km by bus!

The carbon footprint is the sum of the primary footprint and the secondary footprint. While the primary footprint measures direct emissions from fuels including domestic energy consumption and transport (e.g. cars and airplanes), the secondary measures indirect CO2 emissions resulting from full life cycle analysis (from production and disposal) of the products used and evaluates how the choices made indirectly influence the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere.

So how can we reduce the amount of CO2 emissions? We at CasaGIN have chosen to use a very innovative fabric for the production of our garments : TENCEL Modal, which is a derivative of beech fibre. This allows us to save 0.23 kilos of CO2, 1,364 liters of water and 2.86 square meters of land for each T-shirt made, compared to using a fabric such as traditional cotton. It should also be considered that this fabric is naturally antibacterial and therefore requires fewer washes. Furthermore, our garments are made by artisan workshops located less than 70 km from our offices, all in Italy. This allows us to drastically reduce transportation costs. Finally, our dyes are OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 certified, which verifies the absence of harmful substances.

In short, to make the clothing industry more sustainable, all actors must be involved, from designers to producers, from critics to consumers. Without consumers making a change, the efforts are in vain…they must become aware of what they buy. As? Taking these small steps can help:

- Before purchasing, check that your trusted brand has followed sustainable criteria to make the clothing .

- Be creative when combining items and recycle them once worn out.

- Repair your clothes when possible (we at CasaGIN offer this service for free).

- Donate what you no longer use.

- Buy only what you need. In some countries, 40% of clothing purchased is never used.

- Choose quality over quantity . The best way to be sustainable is to switch to long-lasting clothing. Additionally, cheap clothing often doesn't survive the wash cycle.

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