Other materials used in clothing and shoes INDUSTRY include:
Leather (with polluting tanning and dyeing processes, as well as intensive farming impacts and animal rights issues).
PVC Harmful solvents - used e.g. in glues and to stick plastic coatings to some waterproof fabrics.
Environmental effects of textile processes
PVC, Harmful solvents used in glues, to stick plastic coating to some water proof fabrics.
Dyeing alone can account for most of the water used in producing a garment; unfixed dye then often washes out of garments, and can end up colouring the rivers, as treatment plants fail to remove them from the water. Dye fixatives - often heavy metals - also end up in sewers and then rivers.
Cloth is often bleached using dioxin-producing chlorine compounds.
And virtually all polycotton (especially bedlinen), plus all 'easy care', 'crease resistant', 'permanent press' cotton, are treated with toxic formaldehyde (also used for flameproofing nylon).
Many people feel that concern for the environment is intimately linked to concern for humankind, as well. Working conditions in the clothing industry are an international and national scandal. There are numerous reports of workers being forced to work long hours for desperately low pay, dangerous and unhealthy working conditions, female workers being sexually exploited, and attempts to form trades unions being brutally put down. Vulnerable people are routinely exploited in sweatshops and as home workers. In addition, the people who make clothes often have to work in terrible conditions. Many clothes bought in northern countries are imported cheaply from the South, where they are made by sweat shop workers (often children) who work long and hard for very little money.
Exploitation of individual animals often goes hand in hand with intensive farming practises that also damage the environment as a whole.
Beyond this, many people feel that being 'green' includes a wish to avoid any form of animal exploitation - whilst others would argue vehemently that this is a luxury that cannot be supported in a sustainable world. Animal products used in clothing include fur, leather, silk (obtained by boiling or gassing to death many tens of thousands of silkworms), and wool.
Leather-free shoes are available from Vegetarian Shoes Online Store and Green Shoes.
Vegetarian credentials do not guarantee green credentials! - Leather substitutes can include problematic materials such as polyurethane, nylon and even PVC.
More than anything, the sheer amount of production is a problem - it has been calculated for example that the Earth could not produce enough natural fibres to provide for the present-day demand for new clothes.
This throughput is driven by a fashion industry geared to constant change - and our self-esteem, our social standing and even our job security can be at stake if we do not conform. Still, times are a-changing - for a start, fashion is less prescriptive now than for previous generations - and this may be an area of your life where you're ready to help drive the changes.
Today, the textile industry, which uses on an average six hundred dyes and chemicals for the priduction of consumer textiles, is considered most polluted sector of all the other industry. When moving to an environmentally-friendly lifestyle, one of the key elements to consider is ECO- fashion.