By: Vaishali Dar | May 30, 2021 Financial Express India
There’s no magic wand to reverse the environmental impact of climate change, but significant headway can be made by adopting alternative lifestyles and materials. Be it opting for vegan silk and clean energy or consuming microbe-based proteins, alternativism is the crying need of the hour
In March, English fashion designer Stella McCartney introduced the world’s first clothes made with Mylo mushroom leather, a sustainable leather alternative made from mycelium, the infinitely renewable underground root system of mushrooms. Developed by California-based material solutions company Bolt Threads, Mylo is certified bio-based unlike most synthetic leathers.
Not just McCartney but luxury fashion house Hermès, too, introduced in March a bag made from fine mycelium. Interestingly, mycelium grows best in a lab with mulch, air and water, and is designed to have minimal environmental impact. It takes days, not years like raising cattle, helping save water, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and protecting vital ecosystems like the Amazon from deforestation.
The manufacturing of textiles is one of the most polluting industries on the planet. According to a 2017 report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, more than $500 billion of value is lost every year due to clothing underutilization and lack of recycling.
Fashion creates waste across industries, be it logistics, animal farming or agriculture. For instance, 1 kg of cotton, cultivated as part of the agricultural industry in the country, uses more than 10,000 liters of fresh water. It also uses 24% of the insecticides and 11% of the pesticides produced globally. “Every time we consume fresh conventional cotton, we use large quantities of water, insecticides and pesticides, which eventually seep into groundwater and waterways. About 70 million trees are cut every year to produce plant-based fiber. Fashion uses 342 million oil barrels to make plastic-based fabrics like polyester and nylon; 23% of all chemicals produced worldwide are used for the textile industry,” says Tula, adding, “Recycling or upcycling can use natural resources to create fresh material. Working locally reduces the carbon footprint of products that travel back and forth between production, packaging, warehousing, quality checking before reaching the store or consumer.”