How the fashion industry influences food waste

The Fashion Industry Influences Food Waste

The fashion industry helps fight against food waste. The food crop waste is transformed into wearable fibers that even top clothing companies are using in manufacturing.

Going back to the roots

Food loss is a worldwide problem: around 50% of all food produced globally is never eaten. Moreover, the value of this waste is $1 trillion. In low-income countries the biggest amount of food waste is in the production stage.  Meanwhile in developed countries the loss happens at home, at the consumption stage.

 Literally, people are throwing their money in the trash which causes environmental problems.

The harm

Food waste negatively influences our environment. A land mass larger than China is used for food production annually. Which means deforestation, species that are in danger of extinction, forced animal migration, depleted soil – all of this is just to grow food which will be thrown away. Moreover, food loss accounts for 25% of all fresh water consumption globally.

However, the biggest threat lies in dumps, because the bulk of waste ends up there where “it decomposes without access to oxygen and creates methane, which is 23x deadlier than carbon dioxide.” To conclude, food loss is contributing to global warming: it is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the USA.

reenhouse gases
Credit: Unsplas/Ayotunde Oguntoyinbo

The sustainable clothing industry

Banana by-products, pineapple leaves, flax and hemp stalk and even crushed sugar cane can be wearable. All this crop waste can be spun into a natural fibers and finally woven into garments.

A head of a startup Circular Systems, Isaac Nichelson, is seeking to direct the apparel sector towards sustainable production and sourcing. Currently Circular Systems is collaborating with international brands like H&M and Levis to integrate its sustainable fibers into their operations.

So now, all the fashion industry leaders–who in the past, may have stymied sustainability efforts in favor of cutting costs–“are now our new best friends,” Nichelson says. The sustainable sourcing is more expensive and slower choice, but it is a path that the fashion industry supposes to go. Nichelson adds that the ultimate goal is to manufacture less and reject a growth as a success indicator.


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