Water Usage In The Fashion Industry

We are always trying to find new ways to conserve water and we seek to be more careful about it every day. But did you know that that favorite piece of clothing you own, it’s worth thousands of liters of water, let me put it this way, that piece of fabric uses 900 days or more worth of drinking water.

Fashion is the world’s second most water-consumer industry after agriculture, consuming around 79 billion cubic meters of water per year. You might be thinking, how is it possible to use that amount of water on clothes? Well, we must look at the whole process.

Most of the clothes are made of cotton fabric; its production comprises the growing of cotton as well as manufacturing, dyeing, and other processes. We have to go back since we planted the cotton plant. To maximize productivity, each cotton plant is expected to require roughly 10 gallons (38 lbs.) of water. On average, one kilogram of cotton needs 20,000 liters of water. This amount of cotton would be enough for one t-shirt and one pair of pants only!

Cotton is one of the most widely used fabrics in the world, despite its increased water usage. Water is also required for the processing of cotton, the manufacture of a t-shirt, and the coloring process. Water pollution is incredibly important here, which is also a key problem when it comes to the water in your clothing. Garment manufacturing is responsible for over 20% of all industrial water pollution. Now, the world consumes over 5 trillion liters of water per year simply for fabric dyeing.

Consider how much water is used to make a single cotton piece of cloth; now imagine how much water is used to make all your clothes. Your family clothes. All the clothing of people in your city, nation, and around the world possess. I know this sounds unbelievable, but this is the reality, even though our planet may never run out of water it’s crucial to realize that pure freshwater isn’t always accessible where and when humans need it. The reality is that only six countries have half of the world’s freshwater. Over a billion people do not have access to adequate safe, clean water.

So how can we act?

  • Try buying from local thrift stores, consignment, or resale stores to buy secondhand items.
  • Make your clothes last longer! Wash your clothing less or by hand, air dry, remove stains as soon as possible and mend if torn.
  • Don’t throw away the clothing you don’t use anymore, donate it to your local thrift store or sell it to a resale store.
  • Purchase clothes of great quality that will last and will not go out of style fast.
  • Supporting fast fashion businesses is not the best idea.
  • Look for certifications like 100 percent organic, GOTS Certified Organic, recycled, Fairtrade, or Better Cotton Initiative when shopping for products that utilize sustainably produced cotton.

Clothing is necessary, and we cannot avoid wearing it. But we don’t have to go through this damaging process to receive our clothes! Many businesses are trying to make their clothes more environmentally friendly. Yes, they will charge more than their fast-fashion competitors, but their clothing is of greater quality and will last far longer! Another option is to buy clothes that are made entirely of organic cotton. Organic cotton utilizes no hazardous pesticides, cultivates healthy soil rather than harming it, has a lower environmental effect, uses 88 percent less water, and consumes 62 percent less energy than conventional cotton.

We at Green Schools Green Future seek to provide our future generation leaders with sustainable education. It’s important to always think about our earth and always do things to help it. Every donation helps us to do just that!  https://www.greenschoolsgreenfuture.org/donate/

Blog Image Credit: Kai Pilger from unsplash. 



Written By: Ana Navarro Ledezma




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