Labour today urged Christmas shoppers to think of the environment and avoid buying “fast fashion” for last-minute gifts.
The trend towards low-cost clothes which are often discarded after being worn just once has seen people in the UK consuming almost 27kg of new clothing per head per year, compared with just 9kg in France. Fashion is now the world’s second most polluting industry, accounting for 8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Scottish Labour environment spokeswoman Claudia Beamish encouraged people to think of more sustainable options for their last-minute gifts, noting that 95 per cent of fashion that is thrown away could be recycled or reused.
And she highlighted the work of the “Miixer” Zero Waste Hub in Dunbar which includes a reuse shop.
Miixer, a non-profit social enterprise set up last year and operating across East Lothian, sells everything from bric-a-brac and furniture to vintage clothing and diverts over 30 tonnes of material every month from landfill to reuse for community benefit.
Ms Beamish said global clothing production had doubled since 2000 and fast fashion was having a huge impact on the planet, with 700 gallons of water needed to make one T shirt – the equivalent of three years’ drinking water for an average person.
She said: “The festive season is the time to get your glad rags on and you may look to fashion for presents for loved ones.
“Many of us are used to being mindful about recycling Christmas cards and wrapping paper – but we are more blasé about fast fashion and textile waste. But we should all consider more sustainable options when planning partywear and gifts this winter.
“Scottish Labour has set the ambitious target for Scotland of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and a shift to a more circular economy will be an important step. The Miixer Zero Waste Hub in Dunbar is an inspiring example of what we can do now to cut down on emissions.
“The Scottish Government needs to face this mounting problem, and set a strategy to promote sustainable fashion and stop clothing going to landfill altogether. Let’s put ‘fast fashion’ out of style.”
East Lothian Labour MSP Iain Gray said Dunbar had been at the forefront of the zero waste movement in Scotland, being named the first zero waste town in 2014.
“That pioneering project had a significant and lasting impact on the town, and lives on in initiatives such as the Zero Waste Hub.
“That positive track record makes Dunbar a fitting place to highlight the importance of promoting sustainable fashion and being more conscious of textile waste.
“Places like the Miixer project exist in locations across Scotland, playing an important role in moving away from ‘fast fashion’ and helping reduce the negative environmental impact of clothing.”
Susan Guy, a director of Miixer, said the group’s initiatives aimed to alleviate local clothing poverty, create jobs and significantly reduce CO2 emissions by keeping textile waste local. “Our waste is our resource,” she said.