Today, in celebration of Environment Day 2024, BIORESTORE is sharing new ways for people around the world to learn about climate change and other environmental issues emerging from unsustainable laundry practices. 

World Environment Day is celebrated across the globe on June 5th. Each year carries a powerful theme with a unique message. In 2024, the theme for Environment Day is “Land Restoration, Desertification, and Drought Resilience,” which highlights the need for healing our planet’s degraded ecosystem while promoting sustainable land management practices. 

The fast-forward fashion industry is unfortunately a significant contributor to land degradation. Trends come and go every second, resulting in the unnecessary production of millions of clothing items. According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in 2020, 

The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of global wastewater and 10% of total carbon emissions.  

Unsustainable laundry practices 

We generally don’t assume that our everyday laundry practices can be such a huge problem for the environment. But unfortunately, they are! Traditional laundering habits such as using hot water for washing, tumble drying each load, and running a complete laundry cycle for washing even one or two pieces of clothing—all of these are major contributors to environmental pollution. Let’s take a look at how: 

Using hot water for washing 

Using a temperature higher than 60 oC in the washer is considered hot water washing. While hot-water washing is generally suitable for fighting stubborn stains or for cleaning heavily soiled clothing, cranking up the heat of your washing cycle results in using significantly more energy (from fossil fuels), contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. 

The U.S. Department of Energy also highlighted that up to 90% of the energy used in a typical clothes washing cycle goes towards heating the water. 

Harsh Chemicals 

Conventional detergents are formulated with harsh chemicals and microplastics that can not only pollute waterways but also pose significant harm to aquatic life. For instance, phthalates and bisphenol A, classified as EDCs (endocrine disrupting chemicals), are both commonly found in many detergents, softeners, and fragrances. 

All of these chemicals eventually end up in laundry wastewater, leading to hormonal imbalances and other health issues in fish (or other aquatic creatures). Moreover, by entering waterways, i.e., rivers, streams, and oceans, these EDCs also pollute water bodies moving across the globe. 

The trend of fast fashion 

Our love affair with trendy, low-cost clothing often leads to a throw-away culture. This constant cycle of buying and discarding clothes without any extra thought creates textile waste that often ends up in landfills. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2018, textile waste accounted for 17% of municipal solid waste in the US alone, with only about 15.2% of the total waste volume being recycled.  

Not only this, but most of our everyday clothing is generally made of cotton, which is a highly thirsty crop. Producing a single cotton t-shirt from scratch consumes up to 2700 litres of water. That's equivalent to the amount of water one person might drink for over 900 days! Combined with pesticides and fertilisers to aid the volume of production to keep up with the demand for the extravagant production of clothing, this has become one of the biggest challenges for the textile industry. 

Embrace sustainable laundry practices 

Laundry contributes to 18% of the total residential greenhouse gas emissions. From water heating to drying to waste water treatment, there are many unsustainable choices we make along the way while doing our regular laundry. Even though it’s not possible to mitigate this impact completely, you can adopt more environmentally friendly laundry habits for a better result. Below,  we give some insights into some better alternative solutions: 

Use cold water for washing 

Cold water washing has a temperature range of 0ºC to 30ºC. The best advice for keeping your clothing vibrant and sustainable is to switch to cold-water washing whenever possible. Most of the detergents are effective for low-temperature laundering. By doing so, you can skip the extra energy consumed for heating up the water within the washing machine, ultimately resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions.  

Pick your laundry care essentials consciously. 

While purchasing a detergent or other laundry care essentials, don’t forget to take a quick look at the ingredients and the packaging label. You can see the “EDC-Free” or “Eco-Friendly” label on some detergents. It means that they are formulated after considering their impact on the environment. 

Embracing Sustainable Fashion: Conscious Shopping 

We're all guilty of buying outfits that we’ll hardly wear anywhere just because they look pretty and come under a reasonable price range. But what happens once these clothes land in your wardrobe? They add on to the existing pile of “clothes that we have but don’t wear” and more often than not end up in the trash and lost to landfills. One of the best mantras for building a sustainable wardrobe is to ask yourself these six questions before making a purchase: 

  • Do I love this? 
  • Does it love me back? 
  • Can I live without it? 
  • When can I wear it? 
  • How often can I wear it? 
  • How many outfits can I pair this item with? 

And then consider not completing the purchase for 48 hours and then seeing if you still feel the same way. This way, you can put an end to impulse shopping and embrace a conscious shopping mindset. 

How BIORESTORE advocates sustainability in the fashion industry 

BIORESTORE recognises the significant environmental impact of the fashion industry and is dedicated to promoting sustainable practices throughout the clothing lifecycle. 

BIORESTORE cotton is formulated especially for garment restoration. Instead of throwing away pilled, bobbled, and faded cotton garments, you can now extend their lifecycle by using BIORESTORE Re-Tergent. 

Wrapping up!

Sustainable laundry practices and a conscious approach to clothing consumption are essential steps towards an eco-friendly fashion industry. By making small changes in our daily routines, we can all contribute to a healthier planet. BIORESTORE is here to support you on this journey, from extending the life of your favourite garments to raising awareness for sustainable fashion. Together, let's celebrate a future where style meets sustainability