Imagine this: You are going to an event. The first thing on your mind is to wear show clothes.
After considering all the options, you will likely decide that you are sick of what you have. So of course, you head to the store to get new clothes so you can be one of the most stylish.
Even though you may achieve your goal, the impact of your actions is profound. The most famous fashion brands are the catalysts for fast fashion.
The devastation of fast fashion
Fast fashion contributes more than 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases to the environment. It is responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions.
To put that into scale, that’s more than the carbon emitted from all international flights and sea freight annually.
but that is not all. Fast fashion credits itself with contributing to many other evils. And if we don’t check, the consequences will be dire.
Buying less and buying right are two ways to cut back on fast fashion. But what does “correct” mean?
We need to evaluate the fabric, purchase the fabric, as well as how the fabric is processed. The working conditions of garment workers is also an important point to consider.
Only if your clothing checks all of these boxes is it appropriate to be labeled “sustainable”
One fabric that meets these conditions is hemp. Hemp fashion is like the gift that keeps on giving for all the good you do. Do not believe me? Read on.
In this guide, we will talk about problems created or exacerbated by fast fashion. At the same time, let’s also discuss how cannabis solves those problems.
Round one: Effects on the water
The textile industry consumes 79 billion cubic meters of water annually. Yes, this is in a world where more than 2.7 billion people are facing water scarcity.
The main culprit here is cotton. Cotton, which is found in most of our clothes, needs 9,758 liters of water for a yield of one kilogram. And this is only for raw cotton.
Cotton is also a fertilizer intensive crop. Waste water from irrigated fields finds its way into water sources, polluting them.
Water is used without abandon in other stages of fabric processing as well. Water is used to dye and bleach raw fabrics.
These chemicals cause massive water pollution. The textile dyeing process alone is responsible for 17-20 percent of total industrial water pollution.
The water requirements of hemp are much lower than that of cotton.
When you grow in the traditional way, you need 343 liters of water To produce 1 kg hemp fiber. This includes water for cultivation and processing.
Hemp is an organic crop. It does not have heavy fertilizer needs. So hemp farms do not produce chemical runoff that pollutes local water sources.
In fact, hemp is known to filter harmful pollutants, such as zinc and mercury, from the soil.
The numbers show who won this round.
Second round: landfill surplus
Every second, a truckload of fashion waste finds its way into landfills.
Fast fashion produces more 18.6 million tons of waste annually. An alarming report from the Ellen McArthur Foundation predicts that waste could grow to 150 million tons by 2050.
Most people treat clothing as a disposable item. the reason? You can get new clothes at very cheap prices.
The cost of managing this waste is more than $400 billion each year. Clogged landfills are also a significant source of methane.
Cheap fashion produces a low-quality material that fades or cracks after just two uses. That being the case, piling up a mountain of clothing waste is inevitable.
Hemp fiber is one of the strongest natural fibres. The fabric is more durable than most traditional fabrics.
One advantage you get from hemp is that the fabric gets softer with every wash. This means that hemp clothing will last much longer than any natural or synthetic alternative.
And any waste from hemp fabric is completely biodegradable. Yes, carbon and methane are produced when any natural substance decomposes. But the amount of gas produced is negligible when compared to that produced by fast fashion products.
The fabric is also versatile. So there are no restrictions on the types of clothing you can make from hemp. Despite this, only 1% of the clothing produced globally is made from hemp.
Round two, again, goes to hemp.
Round Three: Carbon and Other Greenhouse Gases
I’ve touched on this in previous sections as well. But the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the fast fashion industry is staggering – 10% of human emissions.
Polyester accounts for about 50% of the fabric market. The raw material of polyester is petroleum. Petroleum refineries rank second in terms of greenhouse gas production per facility.
Even if we consider cotton a viable alternative to synthetics, the plant needs heavy fertilizers. and one study estimates The production of one ton of nitrogen fertilizer emits 7 tons of carbon dioxide2.
So cotton creates at least as many problems as it solves.
Another issue to consider is the burning of a large part of cloth waste. Burning releases carbon, smoke and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Hemp removes more carbon than it takes to produce it. One acre of the plant can sequester more than 9.82 tons of carbon dioxide2 in his age.
This is the reason why hemp farms are called carbon sinks.
Even in other processing stages, hemp requires no fossil fuels or non-renewable resources. This makes hemp a very clean fabric to produce.
One of the best ways to offset greenhouse gas emissions through fast fashion is to recycle clothes. This is because most of the carbon is produced during the fiber production stage.
It is possible and easy to shrink hemp fabrics. When discarding the garment made from hemp, the fibers are used to make hemp paper and other fiber products. This extends the life cycle of cannabis making it a more productive plant.
Once again, hemp wins.
Fourth Round: Working Conditions and Fair Pay
The only reason clothes hit the shelves as quickly as possible is the garment workers. As of 2021, 1 out of every 6 workers He works in the clothing industry. 75% of them are women.
The average wage Of these workers 200 USD. To meet the demands of fast fashion, employees work 16 to 18 hours a day for these meager wages. They continue to work because the industry largely allows women to work from home.
Employees do not receive any benefits such as sick leave or paid time off. Home workers must also cover the cost of equipment and utilities.
The market value of the textile industry was 993.6 billion US dollars In 2021. So this is not the case of employers who do not earn enough to pay their workers fair wages.
It is a case of blatant abuse. So much so that the European Parliament used the term “served labor” to describe the working conditions of garment workers in Asia.
Hemp Corporation is dedicated to improving the living conditions of its workers. Our plantations and processing units are concentrated in Uttarakhand.
Migrating in search of work, leaving many ghost villages, is a big issue here. Cultivation of hemp, which grows naturally in Uttarakhand, is a great way to bring back those who have left.
A large part of the immigrants are traditional farmers. So they already have knowledge of cannabis cultivation. We just give them a way to do that.
The Hemp Foundation is also committed to promoting women’s empowerment. We mobilize women through self-help groups. We also train them in professional and marketing skills.
By providing employment opportunities for women who may be involved in home care, we are promoting gender equality.
Immodest? Yeah. But the Hemp Foundation takes the fourth round.
I have read, so far, about the benefit of hemp to the environment. It beats fast fashion standards in every way. But did you know that hemp also gives you a better product than most other fabric options?
These are the boxes to check
- Breathable and absorbs sweat well
- Protects you from UV rays
The emerging need for sustainable fashion is making hemp a more popular choice. It’s a small win when considering the fact that Nike and Ralph Lauren use hemp in their collections.
hemp fabric It has excellent potential to be what saves the world from fast fashion. Its biggest limitation is governments comparing crops to marijuana.
But public awareness and focused education are slowly turning the trend toward cannabis.