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Environmental issues in textiles.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Environmental issues in textiles Environmental effects of the textile industry:- * Processes used to produce a design can affect the environment but it is possible to assess how environmentally friendly a product is by carrying out a "cradle to the grave" analysis. * It isn't possible to extract raw materials without causing some danger to the environment. * Fabrics made from natural sources are biodegradable so waste disposal is not a problem and this causes little damage (if any) to the environment. * Synthetic fibres (made from coal or oil) are non renewable and the extraction causes significant environmental damage. They are not biodegradable. * Raw materials have to be transported to mills to be manufactured into yarns, fabrics etc. they are carried by road, rail, or ship. These methods of transport use fuel and the exhaust fumes emitted add to global pollution. * At the mills the production of textile items requires energy and many use toxic chemicals. If the waste products (e.g. chemical effluents) are discharged straight into the atmosphere. They may be contributing to global warming. * Textile products that are produced to lost a long time e.g. socks are more environmentally friendly because fewer new products need to be made unlike tights which can only be worn a few times before being disposed of due to laddering. More tights need to be made to meet high demands.

Middle

"Evergreen":- Evergreen was started in1990 after many months of planning. The company aims to produce attractive garments with reduced environmental impact by using large quantities of recycled fibre. The main fibre that Evergreen work with is recycled wool, although cotton and some synthetics are now also being used. Only mild chemicals are used, when needed and environmentally harmful processes are avoided when possible. Recycled products must be marketable because a customer won't buy products of poor quality just because they are made from recycled fibres and have the "green" image. Pg. 132, Organic cotton. 1) Large scale production of cotton affects the environment and the people in it by using vast amounts of water, (often where there is a draught, as well as up to 20,000 people's deaths from pesticide poisoning each year. 2) a) (1) The benefits of growing organic cotton are that no chemicals are needed for the use of picking because it is all done by hand and is not treated with poisonous chemicals throughout the production process. (2) The drawbacks to growing organic cotton is that only small crops can be grown at one time because it all takes up too much time and energy and it costs more for the consumers to buy because A LOT of time and effort has been put in to the growing of the crop. b) I think so little organic cotton is produced because it costs so much to buy and sustain. c)

Conclusion

Most people know how wrong it is and want to something about it but don't know how and most people think that by NOT buying rugs from India etc. then they are helping the problem. 4) I think the supporters of the Rugmark scheme need to publicise it more. Most people have never heard of the Rugmark so they cannot back it. If plenty of people backed the scheme then I'm sure it would be adopted in Britain. They also need to explain how and why the Rugmark scheme works so that people understand it al better. 5) If people agree with the argument that it's the price of a textile item that counts rather than its how and where the item was produced, then their argument would be that everything in this country costs too much anyway and they shouldn't see why they should have to spend more in a rug just because it was made by an adult rather than a child, that they don't even know or care for. A person's argument, if we should care more about where our products come from, would then be about the inhumane ness of it all and how would we feel if it was our children forced to work for nothing constantly. Both of these are valid points that need careful consideration. Environmental issues in textiles Samantha Dodson 10. Kent

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