Why buying from fast-fashion marketplaces like Shein and Temu can hurt the planet and communities.
Fast-fashion marketplaces like Shein and Temu operate on a business model that prioritizes quick turnover of trendy and cheap clothing, often manufactured overseas in countries with lower labor standards and environmental regulations. While the low prices may be attractive to consumers, the cost to the planet and its inhabitants can be high.
Here are a few reasons why buying from fast-fashion marketplaces can hurt the planet and communities in the developing world:
22 Reasons to stop buying from Shein and Temu
1. Excessive production:
The fast-fashion industry produces a massive amount of clothing annually, much of which ends up in landfills. This leads to waste, pollution, and increased greenhouse gas emissions. Clothing also requires significant energy, water, and other natural resources.
2. Synthetic fabrics:
Many fast-fashion items are made from synthetic fabrics like polyester, which is derived from non-renewable resources and does not biodegrade. When these clothes are discarded, they can take hundreds of years to decompose, releasing harmful chemicals into the environment.
3. Excessive use of chemicals:
The fast-fashion industry relies heavily on chemicals to dye and finish clothing. These chemicals can pollute water sources, harm wildlife, and endanger the health of workers who handle them.
The fast-fashion industry operates in a way that prioritizes profit over sustainability and ethical practices.
4. Poor labor conditions:
Many fast-fashion items are produced in factories with poor working conditions and low pay. Workers may be exposed to hazardous chemicals and work long hours in unsafe conditions. Supporting these practices by purchasing from these brands only perpetuates the cycle of exploitation.
5. Shipping long distances:
Many fast-fashion items are produced overseas, which requires transportation across long distances. This shipping contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
Overall, buying from fast-fashion marketplaces like Shein and Temu can significantly negatively impact the planet. It's important to consider the environmental and social implications of our purchasing decisions and choose to support more sustainable and ethical fashion brands.
Synthetic fabrics used in fast fashion clothing shed microfibers when washed, which are too small to be filtered out by wastewater treatment plants and end up in our waterways and oceans. These microplastics can harm aquatic life and even enter our food chain.
The production of fast fashion fabrics like rayon and viscose often involves clearing natural forests to make way for plantations. This contributes to deforestation, habitat loss, and biodiversity decline.
8. Overfilled landfills:
The low cost of fast fashion items often makes them more disposable. Many consumers discard them after only a few wears. The vast quantities of cheap clothing end up in landfills, which take up space and can leach chemicals into the soil and groundwater.
9. Unethical Greenwashing:
Some fast-fashion companies may make sustainability claims, but their practices may fall short of true sustainability. Greenwashing can mislead consumers into thinking they are making environmentally responsible choices when they are not.
10. Impacts on communities:
The production of fast fashion items can have negative impacts on communities where the factories are located. For example, textile dyeing can pollute water sources and harm the health of local residents. At the same time, the extraction of natural resources can displace indigenous communities.
11. Water pollution:
The dyeing and finishing processes used in fast-fashion production require significant water. In many cases, the wastewater from these processes is discharged untreated into nearby water sources, leading to pollution and damage to aquatic ecosystems.
12. Carbon footprint:
The fast-fashion industry is responsible for significant greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. The production, transportation, and disposal of clothing have a carbon footprint, and the constant turnover of fast fashion items only exacerbates this problem.
13. Low quality fashion:
Fast-fashion items are often made with low-quality materials and workmanship, which means they may only last for a while before needing replacement. This encourages a culture of overconsumption and waste, which is unsustainable and harmful to the planet.
14. Resource depletion:
Fast fashion production requires significant amounts of natural resources, including water, energy, and raw materials. Many of these resources are non-renewable, and the constant demand for new clothing puts pressure on the planet's resources.
15. Lack of transparency:
Many fast-fashion companies need to provide information about their supply chain, making it difficult to know where and how their clothing is made. Lack of transparency makes it difficult for consumers to make informed choices about their purchases' environmental and social impact.
16. High energy use:
The production, transportation, and disposal of fast-fashion items require significant energy. This can increase greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and other environmental problems.
17. Land use:
Fast fashion production can also lead to land use change, particularly in developing countries where clothing production is often located. This can contribute to deforestation, habitat loss, and soil degradation, which can have negative impacts on local communities and ecosystems.
18. Health impacts:
The chemicals used in the production of fast-fashion items can negatively impact the health of workers and local communities. These chemicals can lead to respiratory problems, skin irritation, and other health issues.
19. Biodiversity loss:
Fast fashion production can also contribute to biodiversity loss, particularly when natural resources like forests and water sources are used unsustainably. This can negatively impact the planet's ecosystems and the many species that rely on them.
20. Social justice:
The fast-fashion industry often relies on low-wage workers in developing countries, many women and children. This can perpetuate social and economic inequality. These workers may not access safe working conditions, fair wages, or other basic rights.
21. Creating a culture of overconsumption
Finally, donating used fast fashion items can also perpetuate a culture of overconsumption and waste. By encouraging people to buy more clothing with the knowledge that they can donate it when they are finished, we need to address the root causes of the problem.
22. Job losses in developing countries
How custom tailors in developing countries lose jobs because of donated fast fashion from developed countries.
Many donated items are sold to developing countries, which may displace local textile industries and contribute to environmental problems like water pollution.
Donating used fast fashion items is a good way to extend the life of these garments and reduce waste. However, there are several issues to consider when donating these items.
Custom tailors in developing countries are losing jobs because of the influx of donated fast-fashion clothing from developed countries. This is because the cheap and often poor-quality clothing that is donated can undercut the local tailoring industry, which relies on providing custom-made clothing and tailoring services to the local population.
People with access to large quantities of cheap clothing from developed countries may be less likely to purchase locally-made clothing or invest in custom-made clothing from local tailors. This will lead to a decline in demand for local tailoring services, resulting in job losses and a decline in the local economy.
Donating fast fashion clothing to developing countries can have unintended consequences, including displacing local industries and losing jobs.
Overall, buying from fast-fashion marketplaces like Shein and Temu can significantly negatively impact the planet, including water pollution, carbon emissions, resource depletion, and more. Consumers can buy from companies with transparent and ethical supply chains to make more sustainable fashion choices, support sustainable fashion initiatives, or opt for second-hand clothing. By reducing demand for fast fashion, we can help create a more sustainable and equitable fashion industry.