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Pollution in menswear

Pollution in menswear

Some facts to alarm and make you pay attention as the world grows it’s interest in cheap sustainable clothing, which seems an oxymoron to us.

A report from WRAP 2017 calculated that the total footprint of clothing use in the UK, including global and territorial emissions was 26.2 million tonnes C02e in 2016.

The total water footprint in active use, including the water consumed overseas to make our clothes was 8 billion m2 of water in the UK alone.

Over 800,00 tonnes of clothing waste occurs in the sampling, production and processing phases.

The world bank states that the fashion sector is responsible for nearly 20% of all industrial water pollution annually.

In the last 20 years the volume of clothes thrown away had doubled from 250 tonnes to 500 tonnes

If we carry on as we are on the current curve fashion may consume 25% of the worlds carbon budget but 2050

Here in the UK we consume 1.1mn tonnes of clothing per year, less than 1% of this goes back into recycle clothing.  About 500,000 tonnes is collected for re-use markets (of which about 165,000 is sold in charity shops in the UK and the majority of the remainder, being exported for resale as good quality products in international markets, mainly in Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa and markets in Asia). A small amount is currently recycled and used in the manufacture of new products such as mattress/duvet fillings and heat/sound insulation.   Shockingly about 400,000 tonnes of clothing is simply dumped in household bins every year without any attempt to re-use or recycle them”

So why does fashion pollute.

Firstly, there has been a huge growth in manmade, often subsidized, fibres such as polyester, acrylic, nylon and polyamide which mostly do not biodegrade, do not last but allows us to produce cheap clothing.

Shockingly these textile fibres are made from fossil fuels and the production of polyester has doubled since the year 2000, creating 700 tonnes of C02 per year, the same as the annual emissions as 180 coal fired power stations.

Polyester now makes up over 55% of all global fibre production. It is low cost as well about 25% cheaper than cotton. We are now seeing a rise of greenwashing of clothes made from recycled materials, polyester – be careful here, recycled polyester when washed still gives off micro pollutants. These fibrous microplastics persist in the environment and do not degrade, potentially ending up in the water system. Also recycled polyester cannot be recycled a second time, here at Neem we are focused on closed loop cotton recycling that can be recycled again into new yarn.

Repreve, which is the largest supplier of recycled polyester is owned by Unifi, which guess what is one of the largest suppliers also of virgin polyester.

Also, there is often a misconception that the bottles are being rescued from the ocean, this is not the fact a market has emerged to produce these bottles.

So how do we make sure clothes are environmentally friendly as the topic seems complex, especially as cheap sustainable clothing, using recycled polyester is on the rise.

Buy products made from recycled materials.

Wear the product out then send back to us – we will send you the mailer bag and £20 against your next purchase for the efforts.

We will make it new again.

Avoid polyester, nylon and viscose where you can – if impossible for performance wear try and wear recycled for now as the technology increases.


Neem – Let’s make waste good.

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