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Synthetic Textiles

Synthetic textiles (polyester, aramid, etc.) are all plastics and as a raw material is oil (fossil fuel). Oil is used to make many products especially for athletic garments. The plastics in our clothing is extremely toxic to the environment and us. These man-made textiles manage to release 2.93 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (C02) into the atmosphere yearly.

C02 is a greenhouse gas (GHG). GHG are within our atmosphere and trap in the sun's heat, causing the planet's temperature to rise. Of the 6 total GHG in the air C02 is the most abundant accounting for 80%.

The textile industry alone produces 10% of the total C02 emissions worldwide. This is more than international flights and maritime shipping combined annually.

Synthetic plastics account for over 30% of the microplastics released in the environment. Due to the amount circulating the environment on average humans consume 1 credit card of plastic per week.

Synthetic Textile Manufacturing

The clothing industry uses synthetic textiles for sporting apparel due to the durability and moisture wicking properties. Manufacturing these man-made fabrics requires massive amounts of energy, chemicals, and water which all produces CO2. Most of the Co2 produced occurs within the initial and final stages of manufacturing.

Initial Stage - Getting the raw material petroleum (oil) into a fiber.

Final Stage - When the garment is in the consumers hands and they continually wash the material.

Additional Pollution

Water Usage
The textile industry uses 93 billion cubic meters of water annually and due to people needing to wash their clothes an additional 20 billion cubic meters annually is used globally.

 Textile manufacturers often use many chemicals to give longevity and specific characteristics to the fabrics. Therefore these materials take 20 to 200+ years to degrade. About 8,000 total chemicals are used throughout the production of textiles.


Clothing brands understand their pollution footprint and now are fiercely competing to develop an alternative for plastic garments that is durable, sustainable, and cost effective.