News > EEB: Textiles are the fourth worst environmental offender

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  • 21st November 2019 - 10:18 GMT

EEB: Textiles are the fourth worst environmental offender

Europe’s appetite for new textile products has an enormous impact on the natural world. After food, housing and transport, textiles are the fourth largest cause of environmental pressure.

Stephane Arditi, policy manager for the circular economy at the EEB, said: “The current fashion system makes it too easy for people to overconsume and generate huge levels of waste. But it’s simply not possible to recycle our way out of the problem – products need to be used for longer and waste prevented in the first place.”

New research from the European Environment Agency reveals that the EU’s consumption of clothing, footwear, and household textiles uses a mammoth 675 million tonnes of raw materials every year – an average of 1.3 tonnes per EU citizen, and that 53,000 million cubic metres of the world’s water is used every year – or 100 cubic metres of water per person – to feed our fashion habit. Textiles also cause the second highest pressure on land use and are the fifth largest contributor to carbon emissions from household consumption.

The UN states that the textile sector is responsible for between 8 and 10% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and it estimates that, by 2050, fashion could be responsible for a quarter of all carbon emissions.

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