According to stats, the fashion industry is responsible for 4-10% of the yearly global emissions of greenhouse gases.

Organic fabrics reduce toxic chemical usage and consumerism since sustainable brands tend to produce high-quality, long-lasting products. Using sustainable clothing also saves resources like water and energy–which are otherwise used in excess in the production process–and helps reduce our carbon footprint.

Let’s elaborate on the impact of sustainable clothing on the fashion industry. Read on to find out more.

Organic Fabrics

Why is Sustainability Important to the Fashion and Textile Industries?

Sustainability is crucial at every level of the clothing production process to decrease environmental pollution, resource consumption and improve working conditions for laborers.

Sustainability is essential because non-biodegradable fibers cause water pollution and 2-3 times more carbon emissions than sustainable clothing. Dyeing processes are enough to fill up two million Olympic-sized pools every year, and companies use around 20,000–mostly carcinogenic–chemicals in the production process.

It is estimated that the fashion industry is responsible for up to 20% of the world’s water pollution. The washing of synthetic fibers like polyester–which do not degrade–causes the release of about 500k tonnes of microfibers into the oceans yearly.

In addition, factories dump toxins used in production into the ocean, some of them hazardous or carcinogenic.

This is harmful to marine life, and the hazard is amplified in our bodies when we consume these animals. Microplastics are estimated to account for 31% of plastic pollution in the oceans. On top of this, plastics release 2-3 times more carbon emissions than cotton.

It has been found that one garbage truck of textile waste is dumped in a landfill or burnt every second. This land and air pollution level can be damaging over some time and cause unprecedented global warming levels.

Sustainable fashion brands ensure that high-quality products are made so that clothes aren’t wasted. Additionally, these brands focus on minimizing their carbon footprint by using compostable fabric and reducing chemical usage.

Why Are Sustainable Fabrics Important?

Sustainable fabrics try to minimize damage, whether environmental damage from water, land and air pollution or ethical damage from human rights violations.

Sustainable fabrics are environmentally friendly because they use fewer resources like water and energy for production. They are also biodegradable, which means they do not accumulate and cause land and water pollution. They’re also safer to wear because there are no residual toxic chemicals from the manufacturing process.

Petroleum-based clothing like nylon and polyester need excessive amounts of water in their production process.

On the other hand, sustainable clothing is generally made from natural or recycled material that requires minimal chemical treatment and uses fewer resources–both energy and water.

Toxic chemicals are used when producing conventional clothing, which is then dumped into oceans to build up in wildlife bodies, making them sick and hazardous for consumption.

Heavy metals like lead and chemicals like formaldehyde in the dyeing process also cause these toxins to accumulate in the clothing and come into contact with our skin, which is harmful to our health.

Additionally, the transport of goods and raw materials from country to country enhances our carbon footprint. Sustainable brands aim to locally source their materials, reducing transport costs and also boosting local economies.

Moreover, many big brands source their materials from third-world countries where working conditions are very poor. Laborers toil under life-threatening conditions, are paid below minimum wage, and then there’s also child labor.

Sustainable brands tend to promise these workers fair wages, safe working environments, and manageable working hours.

Sustainable Fabric

How Can Sustainable Fabric Help Our Environment?

Sustainable fabric is environmentally friendly because it minimizes pollution.

Due to the popularity of fast fashion, fabrics are dumped into landfills or burnt, leading to land and air pollution. The washing of synthetic fibers like plastic and the dumping of toxins in the water is causing our oceans to get polluted. Non-sustainable fashion also encourages the hunting of animals for clothing, which can affect our ecosystem.

Fast fashion has increased consumerism, with people buying and disposing of clothes at a higher rate than ever before. It has been estimated that we use 80 billion pieces of clothing every year, and these clothes last us half as long as they did 15 years ago.

With so much cloth being wasted, most of it ends up in landfills or being burnt. Sustainable fabric suppliers focus on quality and durable clothing to break this cycle of consumerism, thereby reducing both land and air pollution.

Using furs, wool, and leather in clothing production can lead to excessive hunting of certain animals. The endangerment of these species can upset the balance of our ecosystem.

In addition, sustainable fabric suppliers tend to have a “water budget,” limiting their utilization of water during manufacturing. These companies tend to use recycled material that needs less water and less toxic chemicals for production.

Which fabric is most sustainable?

The most sustainable fabrics include recycled cotton, organic hemp, linen, and sustainably produced Tencel and modal. Hemp and Linen require little pesticides and water for growth and can also grow in poor soil. Tencel is made from organic wood pulp and is manufactured using significantly less energy and water.

Let’s review some sustainable printing solutions:

Recycled Cotton

Recycled cotton utilizes fewer pesticides and water for production than conventional cotton and degrades quickly when discarded. It is made from post-industrial cotton waste and is highly sustainable, keeping it away from landfills.

Hemp and Linen

Both hemp and linen require less water and herbicides to grow. Both plants may be cultivated in poor soil since hemp fertilizes the land it grows in. The entire linen plant is used in production and is biodegradable when not dyed.


Tencel is manufactured sustainably using wood pulp. The potentially harmful chemicals used in production are recycled in a closed-loop system, ensuring they do not make it to the water.

Tencel production also uses less water and energy, making it resource-efficient.


Modal fabric is made from biodegradable beech-tree pulp. It also uses 10-20 times less water than cotton. It is also stronger than traditional rayon, making it longer lasting.

sustainable fashion

What are examples of sustainable fashion?

Sustainable fashion means designing, manufacturing, and distributing clothing in a way that’s environment-friendly and ethical.

Here are some standard sustainable practices in fashion:

  • Designing: During the designing process, experts should identify the outcome regarding waste and material usage.
  • Material Selection: Brands should use sustainable fabrics like cotton, linen, or hemp instead of plastic-rich materials.
  • Minimize Waste: Waste production should be minimized during all steps of apparel manufacturing.
  • Packaging: Brands should opt for eco-friendly, plastic-free packaging.

Forest Digital utilizes all these steps in its efforts towards sustainable production. We use digital printing, which decreases energy consumption by 40%. You can learn more by checking our environmental policy.

Our printing machine uses non-toxic inks and reduces water usage by 75%. Both our machine and inks carry the Blue Sign and OEKO-Tex eco-passport, a certification that signifies they meet eco-friendly standards.

As a top sustainable fabric supplier in the UK, our materials are devoid of synthetic fibers like polyester, and we minimize water, land, and air pollution due to textile disposal and burning.

In this article Jessica Giannoti, a sustainable fashion designer from Caracas shares her work and her process. Check it out!


Non-sustainable fashion harms the environment from water, land, and air pollution. Unethical practices also lead to human rights violations like poor working conditions for laborers.

Synthetic materials don’t degrade and accumulate in the water and on land, causing harm to wildlife. Fast fashion has led to over-consumption of textiles, causing much of them to end up in landfills or burnt.

On top of that, the utilization of carcinogenic chemicals in production can harm us when they come in contact with our skin.

Eco-friendly fabric suppliers reduce these issues by minimizing harmful chemical usage, producing long-lasting clothing, and using biodegradable fabric. They’re playing their hand in saving the environment, and if we shop with them, we can do the same.

If you are looking for eco-friendly digital fabric printing, head on to our site and we’ll be happy to help.