Nation's monthly shopping habits produce same emissions as flying around the world 900 times

09 | 2019

But three in 10 shoppers won't change their habits

The UK's monthly fast fashion habits produce the same emissions as flying a plane around the world 900 times, new research reveals.

A study conducted by Oxfam found that more than two tonnes of clothing is purchased every minute in the UK and now, the charity is calling for shoppers to refrain from buying anything new next month.

The non-profit organisation's 'Second Hand September' campaign will not-so-coincidentally clash with the industry's busiest month of the year, as London Fashion Week kick-starts on September 13.

As part of the project, Oxfam unveiled some hard truths about the era of 'throwaway' fashion amid news that a startling 53% of British adults are unaware of their environmental footprint.

According to the study, fashion enthusiasts purchased 1,130,000 tonnes of clothing back in 2016 - an increase of 200,000 tonnes from 2012. To put that into perspective, we're talking 94,166 tonnes of garments per month.

Oslo street style SS19
CHRISTIAN VIERIGGETTY IMAGES

Though it's hardly surprising that the textile industry is one of world's greatest polluters, as one white t-shirt can rack up 2,1748 miles alone en route to the customer - travelling from a cotton field in the US, to a factory in Bangladesh, before it's bulk shipped to storage in Germany.

But that doesn't stop Brits from hitting the high street, as the average adult reportedly spends £27 on fast fashion every month with two items in our wardrobes still waiting to be worn. In fact, one sixth of us have up to five unworn garments hanging in the closet.

Worryingly, three in 10 survey participants admitted that although they are shocked at the damaging impact of their fast fashion habits, they won’t change.

"We are in a climate emergency - we can no longer turn a blind eye to the emissions produced by new clothes or turn our backs on garment workers paid a pittance who are unable to earn their way out of poverty no matter how many hours they work," Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam’s Chief Executive said. "As consumers, it’s in our power to make a real difference."

So, you be taking on the challenge this September?

Danielle Fowler for Harpers Bazaar 



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