Many industries across the globe have spent more time focusing on production and profits than the planet. The fashion industry is one of the biggest offenders, providing fast fashion merchandise that creates textile waste. Textile waste pollutes our air and water from production to disposal, which hurts our planet and ultimately ourselves. Thankfully, there are some ways fashion businesses can reduce textile waste.

Change Manufacturing Techniques

The fashion industry starts creating textile waste and air pollution as soon as facilities start making synthetic materials. Synthetic materials are partially derived from plastic, which comes from petroleum, a fossil fuel. Burning petroleum to make the plastic needed for synthetic materials, such as polyester, releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouses gases absorb light while going through the atmosphere, which prevents them from releasing out of the atmosphere. Instead, the gases hover around the earth and trap heat, causing the planet’s overall temperature to rise. This all leads to climate change, which damages ecosystems and causes natural disasters. We can prevent this chain of events by changing manufacturing techniques and using more natural materials, such as cotton and bamboo, instead of synthetic ones.

Recycle or Reuse Materials

While using natural materials during manufacturing is a great way to reduce textile waste and air pollution, we can skip part of the manufacturing process by recycling or reusing second-hand materials. We can’t reuse all textiles, but when we use what we can, landfill waste is reduced. As textiles—especially synthetic materials—pile up in landfills, they eventually break down into microplastics that can run off with the rain and pollute waterways. Preventing these materials from going to landfills, either through recycling or reusing the material, can help minimize textile waste.

Track Supply Chains

Businesses within the fashion industry can help reduce the number of products going to landfills if they keep better track of their supply chains. Many businesses tend to overproduce because they don’t realistically predict demand. Taking the time to study product demand and ordering less material to make a more realistic number of products will prevent leftover materials and textiles from going to landfills and hurting the planet.

Provide Custom Products

Instead of trying to calculate demand, businesses can shift to a custom production approach regarding textile creation. Mass-producing textile items allows many people to find products they like. Alternatively, providing custom production allows individual customers to order high-quality items they love. Custom production takes more time and energy, but it reduces textile waste since consumers won’t flippantly buy and then quickly dispose of mass-produced items they don’t really want.

Partner With Waste Management Professionals

No one knows more about textile waste than those within the waste management industry. As businesses in the fashion industry try to make positive changes, they should also partner with waste management professionals. In doing so, more people will understand the different types of waste streams and how everyone can manage these streams better together.


There are many ways businesses can reduce textile waste, but the biggest ways involve changes to production. While many of these changes take time and money to implement, they are worth the investment so we can take care of our planet and continue to produce quality fashion for years to come.