Although water covers 70% of our planet, only 3% is available for our use. The World Economic Forum lists water crises as “the largest global risk of harm to people and economies, of the next decade”.
We all know it is important to save water, but do you know how? Most people are aware of basic steps you can take like turning the tap off whilst you are brushing your teeth, taking shorter showers and re-using towels when staying in hotels etc. However, there is so much more we can do, like:
Eat less meat. Beef is one of the most water-intensive proteins, needing 15,000 litres of water per kg. 20x more water compared to rice, grains, beans, fruit and vegetables.
Switch coffee for tea. Coffee beans requires far more water than growing tea leaves, around 140 litres for a cup of coffee and around 34 litres for tea.
Eat less processed food. Water is required at every stage of food production – refining, processing, canning, packaging. Eating fresher food means consuming less water, sugar, salt, preservatives and chemicals.
When it comes to fashion, we have an important role as consumers to take the small steps to reduce wastage. One of the biggest impacts you can make is only buy from brands who take caring for water seriously. It’s up to all of us to do our homework and find out who these companies are and what they are doing to reverse these troubling trends. And, if it’s not enough, we must demand more.
Here are some simple steps we can take:
Buy clothing made from organic cotton. Organic cotton uses 71% less water than conventional cotton.
Don’t wash your clothes as often.
Remove stains manually.
Air your clothes to freshen them up after each use.
As you are probably aware, the fashion industry is extremely wasteful. So, if you have your own fashion business it’s important to understand how you can reduce your impact.
The growing and production of fibres consumes the greatest quantity of water. Water is also used when dyeing, finishing and washing clothes.
So what can you do as a fashion brand?
Source sustainably produced cotton via international standards and farming programmes. For example: GOTs certified Organic Cotton, Fairtrade certification, or the Better Cotton Initiative.
Work with production sites that recycle or re-use effluent water from processing.
Reduce and remove water use from dyeing, stone-washing and finishing processes. By working with industry partners.Work with industry partners to reduce and remove water use from dyeing, stone-washing and finishing processes.
Educate your customers. Provide clear instructions on how to reduce the amount of water and energy use.
If you’d like help to reduce the water intake in your fashion business, whether through a consultation or fabric sourcing, get in touch.