Fixing Fast Fashion: A Sustainable Path Forward

24 Sep 2023
Clothes on hangers in a shop

The allure of fast fashion has led to a pervasive cycle of consumption that not only affects our wallets but also the planet. With the fashion industry accounting for a staggering 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the need for a radical transformation is undeniable. 

As we indulge in the latest trends, our planet pays the price - from water pollution caused by dyeing to the proliferation of microplastics from synthetic fabrics.

In the UK alone, the wastefulness of the fashion industry is evident, with over 800,000 tonnes of fabric waste produced in 2016. Astonishingly, only 1% of this waste is recycled, leaving a detrimental footprint on our environment. 

And the fast fashion industry has been linked to unethical labour practices and modern slavery, tarnishing the appeal of the garments we wear.

Liberal Democrats are leading the charge for change. We recognise the urgency to reduce pollution, curtail environmental damage, and transform the way fashion operates.

This new policy, passed by our members today, sets out a strategy for a more sustainable fashion industry:

Reduce: Extending the virgin plastics tax to textile products, to incentivise the recycling of synthetic fibres. And increasing research and development investment in designs that minimise synthetic fibre emissions.

Reuse: Introducing tax incentives to encourage the reuse of clothing, nurturing a culture of thrift and sustainability.

Recycle: Banning on incineration and landfilling of textiles that could be used or recycled and introducing a new 1p levy on garments to fund local recycling facilities

We would also make clothing more affordable: including clothing costs in benefit rate calculations, acknowledging the essential role of clothing in daily life. And ensuring school uniforms remain affordable, relieving parents of undue financial burden.

Putting Sustainability at the Heart of Fashion

We cannot ignore the environmental crisis exacerbated by the fashion industry. It's time to break free from the grip of fast fashion and embrace a sustainable path forward. 

Liberal Democrats champion not only a greener future but a more equitable one, where the fashion industry takes responsibility for its impact on both the planet and people. Together, we can weave a fabric of sustainability that reflects our values and safeguards the planet for generations to come.




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