Clothes hanging in a wardrobe

Climate change: the new face of fashion

13 Mar 23 2 minute read

Is it time to break up with fast fashion to help save the planet?

Zero Waste Scotland's latest research shows that clothing is the worst type of household waste for the climate crisis, even more so than plastic and food waste. 

We're challenging people in Scotland to #WorkYourWardrobe and make the most of the clothes you already have. 

How many ways can you style your favourite pair of trousers or your staple little black dress? Why not take our challenge and find out!

Why is clothing so bad for climate change?

Whenever we throw anything away we also waste the resources that went into making it.

And producing and supplying clothing has a tonne of carbon-intensive stages - from growing fibres like cotton and manufacturing material into clothes, to packaging and transporting clothing around the world for sale - which each create vast amounts of harmful carbon emissions behind the climate crisis. 

Social media and fast fashion

Social media accelerates fast fashion with new trends being increasingly visible to social media users. Buying new items to stay on trend can be done at the touch of a button without having to leave the app. 

The growth of ad targeting and influencer marketing in recent years to promote fast fashion trends has also contributed to the desire to buy more. 

A new outfit for every occasion has become the norm, and 25% of women in Scotland aged 18-30 say that wearing an outfit to an event/occasion or around a group of people before would prevent them from wearing an outfit again. 

43% of women in Scotland aged 18-30 admit to buying brand new clothes once a month or more.

What can you do?

The fast fashion industry is based on high-volume production of low-quality garments at great speed, to capitalise on the latest micro-trends of must-have items as declared by marketers and our culture of consumerism. 

Recycling clothing and other textiles or opting for eco-friendly fashion can help, but it doesn't go far enough to tackle the negative environmental impacts of fast fashion - it's important to reduce our consumption of clothing in the first place.

An orange jumper on a hanger, along with a wooden heart that says "love me longer"
  1. Do I really need that? Reducing how much we buy in the first place will have the biggest impact when it comes to cutting our clothing carbon footprint. 

  2. Buy second-hand or swap clothes with friends and family.

  3. Follow sustainable influencers on Instagram.

  4. Check websites that review companies based on their green credentials like