Report outlines the carbon footprint of London's fashion habits

ReLondon has released a report highlighting the environmental impact of London’s fashion industry, stressing the need for imminent change to reduce the city’s growing carbon footprint.

Love not Landfill Reuse ClothingThe report uncovers the extent of fashion wastage within the capital, suggesting meaningful solutions to help lower the city’s footprint and decelerate the effects of the climate crisis.

By the year 2050, the fashion industry is estimated to grow to use over 25 per cent of the global carbon budget. London is no different, in 2019 Londoners purchased 154,600 tonnes of clothing whilst disposing of a further 142,700. This equates to the average Londoner acquiring 48 pieces of clothing annually – whilst getting rid of an average of 44.

ReLondon emphasises the ecological impact of discarded clothing. Over 40 per cent of Londoners’ disposed fashion items are thrown away. Of this, 90 per cent is lost to energy from waste or incineration and the remaining 10 per cent ends up in landfill.

The other 60 per cent of Londoner’s disposed fashion items are obtained by charities and textile merchants for reuse. However, as a result of low demand for second-hand clothing in the city, an estimated two-thirds of this ends up being transported overseas.

According to the report, through focused action, the effects of London’s fashion habits can be curtailed. By switching to second-hand options just 12 times per year, and choosing to repair 5 per cent of damaged clothing items rather than throwing them away, ReLondon says that the city’s carbon footprint could be reduced by an 30 per cent.

Shirley Rodrigues, London’s Deputy Mayor for Environment and Strategy, said: “Clothing and textile production is both resource-intensive and a major contributor to global carbon emissions, with this report laying bare how harmful our shopping habits are.”

“In tackling the climate emergency and preserving our precious natural resources, it is vital that we embrace pre-loved clothing and take better care of the things we already own.”

Love Not Landfill

In response to the report’s findings, ReLondon’s Love Not Landfill campaign aims to encourage London’s fashion lovers to reduce their footprint by embracing pre-loved clothing.

From 29 June until 2 July, Love Not Landfill is hosting a pop-up shop in Angel Central. Hosting three charities and a clothing rentals platform, the pop-up promises to feature the very best of London’s pre-loved fashion, with all profits being retained by the charities themselves.

In 2021, 90 per cent of young Londoners surveyed claimed they were concerned about the impact of fast fashion, however, less than 20 per cent felt they knew what they could do to help. The pop-up offers young people in London an easy opportunity to support the fight against climate change by choosing second-hand garments rather than fast fashion.

Lizzy Woods from the Love Not Landfill campaign has said: “The ‘buy it, wear it, throw it away’ fashion model is playing a huge role in the climate crisis we’re facing, so for the planet’s sake, we can’t keep doing it.”

“There’s an almost endless supply of beautiful, unique second-hand clothes out there to refresh your wardrobe, which is why we’re so excited to be running another pop-up shop at the end of June in Angel Central. We’re encouraging people to come along to find a one-off piece or a whole outfit they love – and importantly we hope this means they no longer need to go shopping for something brand new.”

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