Wardrobe Danger Alert: Scientists Issue Warning About Wearing Jeans

Scientists Sound Alarm on Jeans’ Impact on the Environment

In a concerning revelation, scientists are sounding the alarm about a seemingly innocuous item found in nearly everyone’s wardrobe.

These researchers are cautioning that a simple pair of jeans could have a significant negative impact on our environment.

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The Impact of Fast Fashion Jeans on the Environment

New research conducted by scientists from Guangdong University of Technology reveals that wearing a pair of fast fashion jeans just once creates 2.5kg of CO2, similar to driving a petrol car 6.4 miles. The scientists analysed the entire life cycle of a pair of Levi’s jeans, beginning from the cultivation of cotton to their eventual disposal.

Interestingly, the researchers discovered that some jeans are only worn a mere seven times, falling into the category of “fast fashion.” Surprisingly, these jeans produce 11 times more CO2 emissions compared to jeans that are worn more frequently.

Dr Ya Zhou, the lead author of the study, emphasises,

“The humble wardrobe staple – a pair of jeans – has a significant impact on the environment.”

To better understand the environmental impact of fast fashion, the researchers analyzed the entire lifecycle of a pair of Levi’s 501 jeans, from the cultivation of raw cotton to their eventual disposal through incineration.

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Contrasting Traditional Fashion and Fast Fashion

Throughout the product’s lifespan, the researchers observed that fast fashion jeans have a carbon footprint 95-99% larger than that of traditional fashion jeans, which are typically worn an average of 120 times.

The primary distinction between these two consumption styles lies in the fact that fast fashion garments are transported more rapidly and are discarded after being worn less frequently.

Dr Zhou told MailOnline:

“Changing fashion trends induce people to purchase clothing frequently and use them short-lived to keep following the latest trends. Such overconsumption has led to a significant increase in resource and energy consumption in the clothing industry by accelerating the entire clothing supply chain, including the production, logistics, consumption and disposal processes, thereby exacerbating the clothing industry’s impact on climate change.”

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Carbon Footprint Breakdown: Traditional Fashion vs. Fast Fashion

The researchers estimate that jeans produced for the traditional fashion market generate approximately 0.22 kilograms of CO2 emissions. This figure is higher than previous estimates as the researchers believe jeans are worn less frequently and laundered more frequently than previously assumed.

Yet, nearly half of this carbon footprint, 48 per cent to be precise, stems from washing, drying, and ironing jeans post-purchase.

Conversely, fast fashion jeans are estimated to produce emissions 11 times greater. Despite their minimal energy requirement for washing and drying over their lifespan, these jeans, worn on average only seven times, discharge 2.5 kilograms of CO2 per wear.

Unlike traditional fashion, the lion’s share of emissions in fast fashion arises from jean and fibre production, accounting for 70 per cent of total emissions.

The remaining emissions predominantly originate from the transportation of jeans from factories to consumers, constituting 21 per cent of total emissions.

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