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The Shocking Truth about Textile Waste

by Staff Writer Patrick Wang


You’re probably already aware of the detrimental environmental impacts of textile waste. What you probably don’t know is that an average consumer discards 60% of their clothing within a year of purchase. If that doesn’t seem daunting enough, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation estimates that at this rate, the world will discard nearly 18.6 million metric tons of textile waste within 2020 alone, and 150 million metric tons by 2050! Want to really see how much that is?

Textile Waste. Photograph: NeoMam


UK-based content agency NeoMam derived appropriate calculations from existing dimensions of many landmarks to determine just how much textile waste could be stored in various famous landmarks.

  • The Empire State Building in NYC = 81,853 metric tons of textile waste

  • The Colosseum in Rome = 103,125 metric tons

  • The Great Wall in Beijing = 76,154,012 metric tons

  • See this video for more landmarks:

150 million tons of textile waste seems like a lot now, right? And to realize that humankind is on track to reach that capacity in only 30 years is totally unacceptable.


To avoid this occurrence, humans must change their actions now. Start shopping less frequently, and hold on to existing clothes for longer. Buy non-synthetic and natural material, or repair, donate, or recycle existing clothes! Human action is the only way to combat this issue, so be more conscious about the clothes you buy and wear!


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