20+ Interesting Sustainable Fashion Facts & Statistics [Updated 2021]

The fashion industry is the 3rd most polluting industry in the world.

A large amount of waste happens at both the production stage, as our clothes are made, and the consumer stage, as we throw away or overly wash our clothes.

Dive into this sustainable fashion facts list to learn more about how and why eco-friendly fashion is so important.

The complete list of eco-friendly fashion facts

General sustainable fashion facts

  • As much as 20% to 35% of all primary source microplastics in the marine environment are from synthetic clothing, according to academic estimates.

Production stage

  • 7,000 liters of water are used in the making of a pair of jeans.
  • Under 1% of the material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing at the end of its life.
  • 59 major textile, apparel, and retailers – including Adidas, Dibella, Eileen Fisher, Gap Inc., H&M, Lindex, MetaWear, Target, and Timberland— aim to increase their use of Recycled Polyester (rPET) by at least 25% by 2020.
  • A polyester shirt has more than double the carbon footprint of a cotton shirt (5.5 kg CO2e vs. 2.1 kg CO2e).
  • The fashion industry is projected to use 35% more land for fibre production by 2030—an extra 115 million hectares that could be left for biodiversity or used to grow crops to feed an expanding population.
  • Textile production is a major contributor to climate change. It produces an estimated 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) per year – more than international flights and maritime shipping combined.
  • Cotton farming is responsible for 24 per cent of insecticides and 11 per cent of pesticides despite using only 3 per cent of the world’s arable land (source)

Consumer stage

  • Worldwide clothing utilization has dropped by 36% compared to how much we used our clothes 15 years ago.
  • Extending the life of clothing by an extra nine months could reduce carbon, waste and water footprints by around 20–30% each.
  • Approximately 1,130,000 tonnes of clothing were purchased in the UK in 2016, an increase of almost 200,000 tonnes since 2012.
  • 3 out of 5 new items of clothing are thrown away and incinerated within one year of purchase.

Sustainable fashion facts takeaways and recap

At both the production and consumer stage, there are huge improvements that can be made that will help create a more sustainable and eco-friendly fashion industry.

I hope these eco-fashion facts help show you some of the things you can change, and reasons to advocate for and purchase from sustainable fashion brands.

We also collected a complete list of the best TED Talks on Sustainable Fashion currently out there, which is a great resource to learn more.

If you have any interesting facts that we should include here, leave a comment (and the source of the information!) below.

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