The textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world after oil and ironically today more than 70% of our clothes are made of synthetic fibers. The best known are polyester, elastane and acrylic. They are manufactured by chemical synthesis of 2 components of petroleum. It is a kind of plastic in fact.
For the record, polyester has long been considered the miracle fiber because it could be worn for 68 days without ironing, it resists shrinkage, stretching, as well as wrinkling and abrasion.
These properties are very practical in everyday life, but it is the result of a mixture of toxic products during the manufacture and processing of the fabric. Yes, being wrinkle or stain resistant is not at all natural.
In addition to using toxic chemicals, the manufacturing process is water and energy intensive and generates a lot of toxic emissions into the air. Moreover, it pollutes the wastewater when the synthetic fibers are washed to eliminate a big part of these toxic products at the end of the manufacturing process.
But it’s especially its daily use which causes a diffuse and lasting pollution of the environment. With each machine wash, synthetic clothes release thousands of plastic micro-particles that are discharged into the rinse water. These micro-fibers are so small that they escape the wastewater treatment plants and end up in the rivers, seas and oceans. It is an invisible pollution that destroys ecosystems. For more information on this subject you can check our instagram’s front page story on microplastics.