Consumers today have encouraged growth of the fast fashion market. Due to the nature of the industry, this encourages material waste. Fostering the use of natural fibers such as cotton offers the potential for more clothing reuse and recycling. (Ward, Hewitt, & Russell, 2013) According to the Council for Textile Recycling (2018), only 15% of U.S. worn textiles and clothing are donated or recycled; the remaining 85% is discarded in landfills. Our long-term goal is to educate today’s consumers so to help them understand the effects of fast fashion and textile waste on a global scale. In this research, we will pursue two specific objectives:
Examine U.S. consumers’ disposal habits, as well as their awareness and perceptions of the impact they have on the growing volume of clothing ending up in landfills.
Investigate the competitiveness of cotton in the reuse/recycle post-consumer clothing market. It is important that all parties gather to help make a difference in the disposal of clothes. Consumers can help accomplish this goal by shopping with brands that may be slightly higher priced, but overall better quality instead of replacing fast fashion products. Retailers might help persuade their customers by informing them of financial and environmental benefits their campaign is offering.
Long term benefits in preventing clothing waste would be less CO2 in the air from long term decomposition of clothing in landfills as well as higher quality clothing designed to last rather than the lesser quality clothing that stems from the fast fashion market.