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11 June 2021
Online fashion greenwashing on plastics
Corporate social responsibilityE-commerce & mobile retailClothing, apparel
Online fast-fashion stores are ‘greenwashing’ their images, a new study says, by highlighting the small sustainable ranges they produce while the bulk of their output is still made from petrochemicals.
What the research found
The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) analysed over 10,000 recently added items from across some of the UK’s leading women’s fast-fashion websites for its report Fast Fashion’s Plastic Problem.
On average, 80% of items contained new plastic, while 49% were made entirely of new plastics such as polyester, acrylic and nylon. In some stores just 1% contained recycled fabric.
Across the four brands analysed (Asos, Boohoo, Missguided and PrettyLittleThing) new products were, on average, 61% plastic.
Why it matters
Most people (76%) want to see fewer plastics and petrochemicals used in the production of clothing, but there is an “awareness gap” when it comes to understanding how much plastic is used in clothing.
Fashion brands need to do more to promote second hand clothing and explore different business models, while also offering greater transparency around the extent of their plastic use.
Consumers need to shop more consciously: buying less and buying better and also caring for and repairing current clothing.
The government should explore a per-item ‘plastics tax’ on clothing imported into or produced in the UK containing virgin plastics.