But is this material an environmentally friendly and sustainable material?
Let’s see, jeans are the result of a material that belongs to the group of natural textile fibers, that is, coming from cotton, but that after its chemical dyeing, is no longer a “natural” product. Each pair of jeans has a huge impact, either through the cotton plantation or through its production. Each pair of jeans can “consume” more than 5,000 liters of water, since, until its harvest, cotton needs water to develop and grow.
Then comes the entire production and dyeing process. At this stage, the impact goes beyond water consumption, since to make blue jeans it is necessary to dye the fabric chemically, except for the non-chemical processes that some brands are using.
A significant part of the production of our jeans comes from China, India and Bangladesh. We know that in these countries we find several rivers and lakes polluted by the dyeing process since the waters used for the dye are discarded directly into the environment without going through wastewater facilities.
If until now there may not be much news compared to what was already known, however, a study was published last week in the Journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters that brings yet another immensity of concerns. These concerns are related to the stage of using jeans when they are already in our closets and we use them frequently.
Although it can be variable for each zone of the globe, but according to this study, absolutely unbelievable amounts of microfibers were found in several areas, namely in the deep Arctic Sea, in the lakes around Toronto, Huron and Ontario in Canada. These microfibers were analyzed and the results revealed the unthinkable, these through their dyeing, revealed to come from the denim that we use daily. That’s right, coming from our jeans.
How is this possible?
So, washing each piece of denim can release 56,000 microfibers, and although a large part of the microfibers are retained by wastewater treatment facilities, the small portion that is not retained is enough to be polluting our waters in a devastating shape. Can you imagine how many pairs of jeans are washed each day around the world? If we think that more than 300 million pairs of jeans are produced annually in China alone, we can have a simple idea of the impact that is being caused. In addition, the problem of these microfibers, because they are so small, may be present in the atmosphere, moving for several hundred or even thousands of kilometers.
And knowing that, what can we do?
Of course, we use and love our jeans, but we can start by taking care of those that already exist, avoiding buying more, and thus slowing down their production on a large scale. We can also wash our jeans less often if we ventilate them well and put them back in the closet, we will contribute less to the release of microfibers into our waters. And we can also include a special filter in our washing machine, with which we will be able to filter around 90% of the microfibers that a piece releases with each wash.
But what if we want to buy?
In this case, we may prefer to buy from sustainable brands that for example use recycled jeans or brands that sell jeans with natural dye. Buying second hand can also be an option or else the exchange or rental. Today the possibilities are immense. Even do an “upcycling” to the pairs that we own, giving you a more current, trendy look, that will make us feel even better.
Now that you are aware of this, you can start implementing the suggestions above and help to change this terrible scenario.
And I can’t get enough of saying #buyonlyifnecessary
Come back again! See you soon.