The average number of times a garment is worn before being discarded has significantly dropped, creating vastly more textile waste. The true cost of cheap clothing and so-called “fast fashion” is that the clothing industry is a significant source of environmental pollution; excessive consumption only adds to these problems.
Between 2000 and 2015, clothing sales doubled, from 50 billion units to 100 billion. More than half of all clothing purchases are discarded in less than a year. Landfills burn the equivalent of one garbage truck full of garments each and every second. Less than one percent of discarded textiles are recycled and reused. Estimates suggest the fashion industry is the fifth-most polluting industry in the world.