While we hear a lot about the pledge against plastic in the food and beverage industry, we don’t hear much from fashion. Clothing has increasingly been considered as disposable as a result of rising demand and the “fast fashion” phenomenon. The time has come to transition to a fashion system that delivers better economic, societal and environmental outcomes.

A recent report from Ellen MacArthur and Stella McCartney highlights the devastating impact of clothing waste on the environment, making the fashion industry the third most polluting industry in the world. One of the key contributors to this pollution is the microfibres leaching from garments during washing, which ultimately ends up in the ocean and entering the food chain.

With consumers becoming more clued up on the environmental impact of the fashion industry, sustainable practices are in demand and brands are needing to adjust by creating more conscious clothing production systems. Just last week, the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment has been signed by 290+ organisations, including numerous high street and designer names in the industry like H&M, Selfridges, Stella McCartney and Burberry. Targets laid out in the commitment include:

  • Creating a “new normal” for plastic packaging to ensure 100% of plastic packaging can be recycled by 2025.

  • Removing problematic and unnecessary plastic materials from products.

  • Moving from single-use to reusable packaging models.

We are well aware that cleaning up plastics from our beaches and oceans is vital, but this does not stop the tide of plastic entering the oceans each year. This commitment from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is just one step in the right direction, but one which could lead to huge benefits for society, the economy and the environment.