The life cycle of a t-shirt

Consider the traditional white shirt. Annually, we sell and buy 2 billion values ​​worldwide. What makes her one of the most popular clothes in the world. But how and where is the normal shirt made, What is its environmental impact? Varieties of clothes differ a lot, But the usual shirt begins its life cycle on a farm in America, China, or India Where the cotton seeds are planted, then watered until they grow in order to produce the thin balls. They are carefully harvested with self-working machines.


These balls are separated from the seeds by an artificial cotton gin. And pressed cotton wool to the bales of 225 kg. Cotton plants require a large amount of water and pesticides. It takes 2,700 liters of water to produce the regular shirt, That is enough to fill more than 30 bathtubs. Meanwhile, cotton uses pesticides More than any other crop in the world. These pollutants may be carcinogenic. And harms the health of field workers, The surrounding ecosystem is damaged. Some shirts are produced from organic cotton that grows without pesticides. But organic cotton accounts for less than 1% Of the 22.7 million metric tons of cotton produced worldwide. Once the cotton bales leave the farm, Textile factories take them to the spinning mills, Usually in China or India, Where high-tech machines mix And layoffs, And combing, And pull, And extend Finally, wrap the cotton into a white, snowy rope of yarn called the fabric.


Then the yarn is sent to the grinding machines, Where massive circular knitting machines We weave them into sheets of strong gray texture It is heated with chemicals until it turns soft white. Here, the tissue is dipped in commercial bleaches and azo dye, Which is the vibrant coloring in about 70% of textiles. Unfortunately, some of them contain the carcinogen, cadmium, And lead, And chrome, And mercury. Some harmful ingredients cause widespread pollution While being released as toxic sewage in rivers and oceans. Technology is now sufficiently developed in some countries To make the process of germination and production of the entire fabric Out of human hands. But only until this point. After transferring the finished fabric to the factories, Usually in Bangladesh, China, India or Turkey.



Requires the workforce to sew them in T-shirts, It is a complex work that the machine cannot do. This stage has its own problems. Bangladesh, for example, The most exporting cotton shirts superior to China, Employs 4.5 million people in the shirt industry, But they usually face insufficient conditions and low wages. After manufacture, shirts are transported by ship, train and trailers To be sold in high income countries. It is a process that gives cotton an enormous carbon footprint. Some countries produce their own clothes locally, And that limits this pollution stage. But overall, garment production accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions.


It is an increasing percentage. Cheap clothes and individuals willing to buy It increased world production to 400% from 1994 to 2014 That's 80 billion pieces of clothing every year. In the end, in the consumer’s home, The shirt is exposed to the most resource-intensive stages of its life. In America, for example, The average household makes 400 loads of laundry each year. Each load consumes 40 gallons of water. Washing machines and dryers are both energy efficient. Dryers require five or six times more power than washing machines. This major change in clothing consumption over the past twenty years, Paid by big companies and fast fashion Cost the environment, And the health of farmers, It prompted doubts about manpower practices. And he transformed fashion into the second largest pollutant after oil. But there are things that can be done. Consider shopping second-hand goods. Try searching for organic or recycled textiles. Minimize clothes washing and drying outside to save resources. Instead of getting rid of them at the end of their lives, Donate, remanufacture, or reuse them as a cleaning cloth. In the end, you can ask yourself, How many shirts and clothes do you consume during your lifetime, What will be their collective impact on the world?

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