Our bad fashion habits – and how we could change them – in numbers

Chile has long been a hub for second-hand and unsold clothes from wealthy countries, which are either sold in Latin America or end

Chile has long been a hub for second-hand and unsold clothes from wealthy countries, which are either sold in Latin America or end up in landfills in the desert.

The fashion industry is estimated to contribute over 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions and is poised to get worse if there is no major change.

Here are some key figures on how fashion affects the planet and how consumers can make a difference.

7 to 10

The average number of times a garment is worn before it is thrown away, according to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation.


The maximum number of new items we should buy each year if we are to meet the UN’s global warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius, according to the Hot or Cool Institute think tank.

About 30 percent

The percentage of donated clothes that end up in landfills or incinerators overseas, according to Hot or Cool. They can also end up undercutting prices from local suppliers if they flood the market.

1 second

The equivalent of a truckload of clothes is incinerated or buried in a landfill every second, estimates the Ellen Macarthur Foundation.

100 billion

The number of new clothes produced each year, according to the Clean Clothes Campaign.

1 percent

According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), less than one percent of the material used to produce clothes is actually recycled into new clothes.

Many fast fashion companies say they can recycle old clothes into new ones, but the reality is that the quality of the fabric is generally not suitable to make clothes that can be sold.

30 degrees Celsius

The recommended temperature at which clothes should be washed to increase their lifespan.

20 / 20 / 20

On average, the fashion consumption of the richest 20% of the world’s population causes emissions 20 times higher than that of the poorest 20%, say Hot or Cool.


This year, France will pass a decree requiring every item of clothing sold in the country to carry a label detailing its precise climate impact. The EU should follow suit.

8 times

The second-hand clothing market is growing eight times faster than the overall clothing market, according to online consignment store thredUP.


Over the past 15 years, clothing production has roughly doubled, estimates the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, but over the same period we have used these garments almost 40% less.

40 percent

The percentage of global consumers belonging to Generation Z, those born between 1997 and 2012, according to McKinsey & Company. Gen Z is both part of the problem and part of the solution when it comes to fast fashion: they represent a large portion of consumers, but they are also calling for more sustainable fashion.

© 2023 AFP

Quote: Our bad fashion habits – and how we might change them – in numbers (January 19, 2023) Retrieved January 19, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-bad-fashion-habitsand-themin.html

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