Fashion & Textile Waste Statistics: Facts About Clothing In Landfills

The worldwide textile business is a multibillion-dollar industry, valued at approximately $3,000 trillion at the moment. The business has had tremendous growth during the last two decades, with apparel output doubling between 2000 and 2014. The average consumer now purchases 60% more clothing than they purchased 15 years ago.

Unfortunately, the more garments we purchase, the less we wear them, resulting in rising fashion waste. As a result, the apparel and textile sector has risen to third place on the list of the world’s largest polluters.

The fast fashion industry has far-reaching consequences. Take a look at some of the most recent fashion waste figures to have a better understanding of the textile industry’s environmental impact.

Additionally, we’ll discuss a few steps you can do to ensure that your passion for fashion does not endanger the earth.

Textile and Fashion Waste Statistics

Clothing waste statistics help us better understand the impact of our fashion choices and production processes on both people and the environment. Here are some noteworthy statistics.

The fashion industry accounts for 2% of global GDP

Since 2013, the global fashion clothing sector has exceeded the US$1 trillion market size. It now accounts for approximately 2% of global GDP. On average, 75% of the global fashion market is centered in Europe, the United States of America, China, and Japan.

The average customer purchases 60% more apparel each year

Each year, the average consumer purchases 60% more apparel. Fashion waste statistics also indicate that shoppers are discarding their clothing at an alarming rate. Nowadays, people wear their garments for around half the time they did 15 years ago.

The average American spends about $2,000 on fashion things

Each year, the average American household spends about $2,000 on clothing, footwear, and other associated products and services.

Each year, the United States generates about 17 million tons of textile waste

According to textile waste data, the United States generates about 17 million tons of used textile trash each year. This figure has more than doubled in the last two decades.

1 in 2 persons dump their unneeded garments in the trash rather than giving them away or donating them to those in need. As a result, 64% of all clothing made each year end up in landfills.

Clothes disintegrate over decades

When you throw away your garments, they wind up in landfills, where they take decades to decompose. They do so by emitting greenhouse gases. Instead of discarding, reuse or recycle.

Britons own $46.7 billion worth of unsold clothing

According to fashion waste statistics, consumers in the United Kingdom own over $46.7 billion worth of unworn clothing.

If you wore your clothes longer, you might save up to 10% on clothing waste

A piece of clothing’s average total life is 5.4 years. By extending the life of your clothes by just three months, you can minimize your carbon and water footprints, as well as waste output, by between five and ten percent.

Consumers recycle garments at a lower rate than manufacturers

Consumers discard more garments than manufacturers. Consumer-used clothing is recycled at a rate of 15%, compared to almost 75% of pre-use apparel recycled by manufacturers.

The fashion industry accounts for 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions

The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions. The more clothes we recycle, the lower our emissions will be. According to textile waste data, recycling 2.62 million tons of clothing annually would be equivalent to removing 1.3 million automobiles off American roads.

One T-shirt and a pair of jeans require 5,000 gallons of water to manufacture

The apparel business is a significant contributor to water contamination and waste. For example, manufacturing a T-shirt and a pair of jeans requires more than 5,000 gallons of water.

Despite being a multibillion-dollar sector, the textile industry pays little

The Philippines’ factory workers earn the lowest wages in the worldwide textile industry. A worker earns around 88 cents per hour.

How to Help Reduce Fashion & Textile Waste

When we consider textile waste, we instantly think of clothing manufacturers. However, as consumers, we contribute significantly to the accumulation of fashion garbage. The more we purchase, the more garbage we generate as manufacturers scramble to keep up with demand.

Therefore, what can you do to remain fashionable while minimizing waste? Listed below are a few possible solutions:

Prioritize quality over quantity

Consider the quality of clothing while making a purchase. The better the quality, the longer the garment will endure, and hence the fewer garments you will need to purchase. By extending the life of your garments by just seven months, you can cut waste in half. Prior to purchasing a fashion item, consider whether you will wear it more than 30 times. If not, do not purchase it!

Related article: Sustainable Fashion Brands

Sell or make a donation

If you have clothes that you no longer wear, you can sell them at a garage sale. You may even donate them to a sibling, a friend, or even a stranger.

Host a garment exchange or swap

If you’re in need of new clothes but have an abundance of unworn ones in your closet, consider hosting a swap or exchange event rather than purchasing new ones. This is a fantastic method to acquire new apparel while carefully disposing of items you no longer want.

Rent rather than purchase

Consider renting an outfit for those special events that necessitate a new look, such as a job interview, an important business meeting, a dinner, or a wedding.


Check to see whether your city provides textile collection containers where you can dispose of outgrown clothing. They will then be sorted, with those in good condition being donated to charity stores and those in poor condition being recycled.

Related: Best Slow Fashion Brands


Once you’ve outgrown a piece of clothes, repurpose/upcycle it into something else rather than discarding it. Do you require assistance? Pinterest is brimming with innovative ideas that you can try.

How much garbage is generated by fast fashion?

Each year, the worldwide fashion sector generates around 92 million tonnes of garbage. Over 17 million tons of used textile waste are generated annually in the United States alone.

What effect does fashion waste have on the environment?

The fashion industry’s primary influence on the environment is through greenhouse gas emissions. While clothing decomposes in landfills, it generates methane and pollutes the soil and water with plastic and toxins.

As the fashion waste statistics demonstrate, we as customers contribute significantly to textile waste generation. However, by being responsible customers and encouraging all fashion labels to become more eco-friendly, we can help minimize our carbon footprints.

Keep in mind that when you purchase high-quality items, wear them longer, spend less, give, or recycle, the fashion industry will follow suit by creating less and better. Together, we can significantly reduce the amount of clothing that ends up in landfills!