The environmental impact of a $10 cotton T-shirt

What is the impact of a $10 cotton T-shirt? 👕

It takes 2,700 litres (590 gallons) of water just to grow enough cotton for a single T-shirt. This is enough for a person to drink water for 2 years!

In order to grow cotton, farmers use huge amounts of pesticides. Pesticides deeply pollute the soil and water for local populations.

Most workers in cotton fields (in India for example) do not have proper equipment to protect themselves from pesticides, and many suffer from lung, skin diseases, or cancer.

Working conditions in sewing factories are terrible, with workers earning less than $25 per month, in dangerous buildings (in Bangladesh for example).

Finally, T-shirts are soaked into toxic colorants. These colorants are not only dangerous for health, but also often end up in water (in China for example).

The production phase accounts for 70% of the environmental impact of a T-shirt.

After that, the impact is mainly the transportation and distribution carbon footprint, and finally the laundry and disposal of the t-shirt.

So what can we do?

If a T-shirt is very cheap, it is likely to have a huge environmental footprint. But not all expensive T-shirts are better!

Buy less, choose better. Look at the origin of the T-shirt, the materials used, and the quality. It’s better to buy less often and keep it for longer!

Choose second hand clothing. This is most sustainable option!

Finally, when disposing of the T-shirt, choose to donate it, re-sell it, or even use it as a cleaning cloth, but don’t send it to landfill!

For more ideas on how to be more eco-friendly, visit our website and find hundreds of easy eco tips 🌿

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