Eco-Friendly Textile Progress
There is no question that the current state of the worldwide textile industry is unsustainable. Accounting for almost one-third of water usage and 4.3 percent of energy consumption, the present global production of fabrics needs to evolve. No one is more aware of this than the industry itself. Companies such as BASF Textile Chemicals have been developing economically and environmentally-efficient technologies. Industry leaders, such as Bill Fong of Hong Kong based Fong's Industries, have advocated massive strides towards greater energy efficiency in textile production, pointing out that making small changes will save money, resources, and the environment.
Environmental groups such as Ecotextile and Carbon Neutral Clothing are trying to raise awareness about the eco-effects of this industry. Ecotextile has a calculator for finding the carbon footprint of your wardrobe. Carbon Neutral Clothing is working with clothing companies to develop environmental certification standards. In 2009 the first carbon footprint label for clothing and other textile goods was released in the UK, giving consumers a way to compare not only the prices of different products, but the environmental impact as well.
Aside from the strides towards greater efficiency in the industry and the awareness-raising efforts of environmental groups, what can individuals do for the textile carbon footprint? As a consumer, you can make a difference by choosing eco-friendly textiles. Buy hemp, bamboo, and flax-based clothing and linens. Choose organic cotton over conventional cotton. Don't buy products made from synthetic fibers. As the demand for sustainable, environmentally-sound textiles grows, the organic textile farmers, eco-friendly dye companies, and responsible producers will be able to thrive.
The carbon footprint of the textile industry is just as suffocating as the elephant in the room. This is a worldwide problem, that only a worldwide effort can solve.