Microplastic, the new buzz word going around. The small, very small, pieces of plastic that are polluting our oceans, causing contamination to our fish, taking our jobs and women... ooops wrong forum for that…
But no, microplastics are a bain for us and the world at large, and the fashion industry has played its part through over production, fast fashion and its reliance on plastic based material such as polyester. But before we get onto the topic of how sustainable clothing can help make a dent in the issue. First let’s take a look at what microplastics are.
The technical term of a piece of plastic that can be terms “micro” is a piece of plastic debris which is less than 5 millimetres in length. But how does a piece of plastic become “micro”? The most common method is during the biodegradation of larger pieces, being battered in the ocean and landfills by other pieces of rubbish and the general friction they go through. Large pieces of plastic breakdown into smaller pieces which then become “micro”. The other method is that micro plastics are actually manufactured. The exfoliation beads in face washes, industrial plastic beads and ultimately any plastic smaller than 5 millimetres. These small pieces of plastic easily pass any sort of filtration system and pass into the ocean.
So now that we know what microplastics are, what is the relation to fast fashion and sustainable clothing? Well, as mentioned above, a lot of clothes and fashion brands focus on low-cost clothing. A lot of low-cost clothing focuses on plastic based materials for the garment, I.E polyester. Once the garment, t-shirt, jumper, etc, is thrown away the natural material biodegrades a lot quicker than the plastic. The plastic parts of the garment then take up to 200 years to biodegrade.
So this is the problem and this is where sustainable clothing and sustainable clothing brands help to resolve the issues. And this issue is at the forefront of one sustainable women's clothes brand in the UK, Dzihic.
Sustainable materials such as cotton, hemp, bamboo and vinyl are all natural materials which take substantially less time to biodegrade. Because they all biodegrade a lot quicker, some only a few months after they have been thrown away. You can see the impact that sustainable clothing and sustainable clothing brands can have not just on the fashion industry, but the work and larger world.
But should you buy and use sustainable clothing just because of its lack of plastic? Well yes, but that is not just the sole reason. Let’s be honest, fast fashion companies and brands which have no real purpose other than existing don’t have the best reputation when it comes to employee care or in some cases paying employees minimal wage. Not to name any names of course. Sustainable clothing companies tend to go hand in hand with ethical clothing.
A lot of sustainable clothing brands, like Dzihic, are ethical clothing brands. But not all ethical clothing brands are sustainable clothing brands. This is important because this partially explains why a lot of sustainable clothes are expensive. So now the questions is, should you buy sustainable clothes because they are ethical?
Yes and no. Ultimately why you buy clothes, or anything is down to you. But if you are one of those that do consider the environment and want ethical clothing, then yes. The above should definitely be considered. But the main point of this is that micro plastics are a b***h and sustainable fashion brands and sustainable clothing do their part in limiting them. So why not buy sustainable.