Freshers’ Week is one of the most talked about events at UM which means organizations are hard at work preparing! This usually results into these organizations producing branded t-shirts but not ESA. This year, apart from being the first student organization to introduce a Sustainability Officer as part of their executive, ESA will also be opting for lanyards instead of making t-shirts and participating in unsustainable fashion.
Fashion is known to have intensive impacts on the three pillars of sustainability: the environment, the society and the economy. This massive industry has high influences on sourcing, location, employment and many more in the face of sustainability.
The fashion industry is a reflection of our ever-evolving society; encouraging individuals to purchase clothing excessively, therefore increasing the likelihood of their disposal. Nowadays, such influences are critical as our earth’s systems are already being faced with exceeded limits; reducing the use of chemicals, production size, and repurposing textiles, will therefore curtail said impacts.
Internationally, an abundance of clothing terminates in landfills amounting to roughly 460 billion discarded clothes in landfills annually. An example is Polyester, a synthetic fibre present in most fast fashion articles of clothing which discharges triple the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) when in comparison to cotton, a natural fibre. Polyester numbers have skyrocketed by 157% since 2000, accumulating to roughly 21.3 million tons of the fibre used in manufacturing! Non-renewables are mainly adopted in the fast fashion industry with 98 million tons of fossil fuels used, whilst absorbing roughly 93 billion cubic meters of water from the initial to the termination stage per annum. The clothing industry, therefore, not only contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, but also contributes to 20% of water pollution from pigments along with micro and macro plastics deposited into the ocean. Predictions are that CO2 production will rise by 26% in 30 years due to fast fashion production.
Today, the clothing industry is considered the second most environmentally damaging and one of the most resource demanding, after the oil industry! The higher the demand, the more waste produced.
Here’s the benefits of using lanyards as opposed to clothing:
- Lanyards will give a more timeless and professional look as well as durable.
- May be wiped down with a cloth to clean/sanitize.
- The laminated paper may be replaced with another individual’s information once a role is passed down.
- The laminated paper may be reused (i.e. a flashcard for studying).
- The laminated paper may be kept as a memento once a member decides to part ways with the association.
- Lanyards allow the members to express their own style, yet have a form of identification within the association.
- Unlike a t-shirt or polo shirt, one will not have to repurchase the item if they grow out of it.
Even if we were to find sustainable companies to make us such personalized prints, one must order in bulk and since ESA consists of a small number of people, it would not have been worth all that packaging and electricity in order to feed this vicious cycle that people have fallen into.
ESA encourages other student organizations to follow in their footsteps and help them towards a more trendy and sustainable goal!
Make sure to pass by ESA’s stand TODAY at Pjazza Dun Karm!
Written by Andrea Borg Brincat (Sustainability Officer) & Lara Bajada Young (Educational Officer)