The Life Cycle of a Cotton T-Shirt

I came across this article earlier this summer and bookmarked it because I thought it would be helpful to share on this blog. The data was complied by an organization called USAgain who are making an effort to reduce the amount of clothing and textiles sent to landfills every year.

Here are a few key facts:
  • The production and transport phases of one t-shirt weighing approximately 6 ounces produced in India uses: 700 gallons of water, .22 pounds of fertilizers, .01 pounds of pesticides and 1.2 pounds of fossil fuels.
  • Washing and drying one t-shirt 50 times, produces 18.3 lbs of Co2 emissions.
  • Currently, Americans send 85% of their used or unwanted clothing and shoes to landfills, meaning only 15% are being recycled or re-used.
Information like this often feels overwhelming to me, especially considering I have to multiply all of those stats by the ridiculous number of t-shirts currently sitting in my drawers. And this is just the environmental impact. It doesn't even touch the fact that that one Indian-made t-shirt was probably also produced in an unsafe and under-monitored sweatshop and the impacts that has on individual and community health.

Sobering facts for a dreary Monday morning. Ignorance is bliss. But it doesn't make the world a better place.

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