As a result of fast fashion, consumers are buying, and therefore, disposing of, synthetic clothing at record levels. Despite consumers’ best intentions, most clothing disposed of ultimately reaches a landfill. When clothing decomposes in a landfill, it leaches chemicals that pollute soil, air, and waterways for thousands of years. Many companies have implemented programs that allow consumers to give back their used clothing to be reused or recycled. However, this accounts only for a small percentage of clothing disposed of. If fast fashion remains at the forefront of the apparel industry, consumers will continue to dispose clothing. Alternative options, such as creating biodegradable clothing, could help to reduce pollution, but only if consumers are interested. The primary goal of our research is to assess how consumers’ level of knowledge and interest in fiber content and sustainability affects their clothing disposal habits. Through collection of data from a young, educated audience and careful analysis of social media posts, we concluded that consumers care more about price and style than fiber content and biodegradability. Consumers keep clothing for years before disposing of it, and upon disposal, the majority donate to second-hand stores with only a few passing it down or selling it themselves.
Fast fashion negatively impacts our environment, with one of the issues being that consumers often buy and dispose of synthetic clothing quickly. This clothing often ends up decomposing in a landfill, which leads to the pollution of soil, air, and water. Companies are trying to address the problem by offering clothing recycling options, or creating biodegradable clothing. Our research goal is to assess the consumer’s level of knowledge on these issues, and on fiber content. We concluded from our results that consumers are more concerned with price and style then fiber content and biodegradability. We found that many consumers keep clothing items for several years before disposing of it, and when they do they often times will donate it to second-hand stores.
Ramsperger, M., Naus, A., & Shewalter, C. Consumer Clothing Disposal Habits. https://oaks.kent.edu/node/10212
Ramsperger, Maria, Alyssa Naus, and Claire Shewalter. n.d. “Consumer Clothing Disposal Habits”. https://oaks.kent.edu/node/10212.
Ramsperger, M., A. Naus, and C. Shewalter. Consumer Clothing Disposal Habits. https://oaks.kent.edu/node/10212.