Waste Less Water – Starting with your Wardrobe!
Despite 71% of the earth’s surface being covered by water, the UK has less water available per person than most other European countries. For example, did you know that London is drier than Istanbul?
As the population increases, the demand for water gets higher, and with climate change playing a huge part in the scarceness of this commodity, a heightened strain is being put on our water supplies. The World Economic Forum has even identified water scarcity as one of the top ten global risks to society over the next ten years.
With awareness initiatives such as World Water Day, Waste Less Water Week and Water Saving Week cropping up in our calendars, as well as the climate change crisis being more readily and openly discussed in mainstream media, people are becoming more and more aware of the importance of protecting our invaluable resource, H20.
How Can I Save Water?
There are so many ways to cut back on your water wastage in your everyday life! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
The final point may raise a few eyebrows, understandably so. What many people don’t realise is that the fashion industry relies on water throughout the whole production process; as a solvent for dyes and chemicals, as a medium for transferring dyes and chemicals to fabric and as a washing and rinsing medium. In fact, almost 3,000 litres of water are needed to make the average T-shirt – which is more than the average person drinks in three years! The fashion industry consumes around 80 billion cubic metres of water per year, which is enough to fill 32 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. The shocking statistics go on and on…
Our friends at Thought, suppliers of contemporary, Organic and sustainable style, are acutely aware of their responsibility to reduce the water usage when producing their new ranges. With eco-friendly ‘force of nature fabrics’ such as model, Tencel™, hemp and Organic cotton making up the vast majority of their collections, they’re proud to be making a difference to the fashion industry.
How Do Thought’s ‘Force of Nature’ Fabrics Conserve Water?
Modal is soft, breathable and luxurious, similar to silk, and has even been dubbed the ‘softest fabric in the world’. This wonder fabric is made from beech trees, which are notoriously easy to grow and require less water to grow (up to 20 times less) than other trees. Because of this, the environmental impact of modal on soil is also relatively low. Additionally, 95% of production water waste is recovered and recycled during the production of the yarn.
Psst! Keep an eye out for an expanded modal clothing range, coming your way in the near future!
There are so many reasons to love Tencel™; firstly, it’s absorbent, smooth, cool and silky soft with a beautiful drape and sophisticated handle. It’s also simple to launder, strong when wet, and has been developed to be wrinkle resistant, much more than its cotton counterparts, making it the ideal fabric to pop into your suitcase when travelling. Not only is Tencel a great fabric to wear, it’s also an environmentally friendly option; in fact, its manufacturing process has earned it the highly prestigious European Union’s ‘European Award for the Environment’. As far as water consumption is concerned, Tencel™ is up there with the very best of them, using a closed loop production process, recycling 99% of water waste. To find out more about Tencel™, including exactly how it’s made, see our blog post An Introduction to Tencel™.
Hemp is a fantastic fabric, with a very low impact on the environment; it’s 100% biodegradable and typically grown without pesticides or synthetic fertilisers. It is a strong fabric, despite being soft, lightweight and absorbent, making it great for everyday wear.
When it comes to water wastage, hemp uses around four times less water than non-Organic cotton in its production and can grow with little irrigation. Fabrics like cotton also tend to be grown in parts of the world where water is more scarce, whereas hemp lends itself to being relatively easy to grow in any part of the world.
There are many reasons why Organic cotton is good for the environment. For example, most Organic cotton is grown in rain-fed areas, which means less strain on local water supplies. Organic cotton also uses around 84% less water during production, than regular cotton. The farmers of Organic cotton use natural methods like composting to create healthier soil; soil which hasn’t had lots of chemical fertilisers used on it will soak up water during floods and hold it for longer during droughts. Some scientists are warning us that soil is being eroded so fast that we may only have between 60 and 100 harvests left before it’s gone completely - have a look at our feature on healthy soil for more information about our soil and how we can prevent losing it all together.
For more information about Thought, their heritage, processes and vision for the future, see our interview with Rachel Kelly, co-founder of Thought Clothing, talking all things slow fashion.