Shocking Facts About the Textiles Industry

Rolls of Fabric on Shelves

24 Oct Shocking Facts About the Textiles Industry

Whether you’re talking trendsetting or not, we all wear clothes on a daily basis. As such, the textiles industry worldwide is valued in billions – proving its immense growth and power. South Africa has been fighting to revive its threadbare textile industry for decades since an abundance of cheaper products from China led to the loss of nearly two-thirds of the sector’s jobs. According to Stats SA, the largest drop in employment occurred in the textiles industry, which lost 91 000 jobs over a ten-year period.

Despite this apparent decline in the South African Textile Industry, Finlam Technical is growing with its niche range of market-specific products. We also work to high standards of health and safety, with the lowest possible environmental impact. These are important considerations when we are working in an industry with these amazing facts and figures:

Now for the Facts…

  • The dollar value of world textiles exports in 2017 was approximately $454.5 billion.
  • Worldwide consumption of textiles is 73 million tones.
  • China’s textile production accounts for nearly 54% of the world’s total production.
  • 80% of a garment’s environmental impacts are defined by choices made in the design process.
  • The apparel manufacturing industry in the US has declined by more than 80% over the past two decades.
  • Cotton is used 90% of the time, compared to all other natural fibre fabrics.
  • Only 20% of textiles are recycled.
  • Every cotton plant takes 30 000 litres of water to create 1kg of cotton. Thus one cotton T-shirt consumes 2 700 litres of water. The volume of water consumed by apparel production each year is currently the equivalent to 32 million Olympic swimming pools.
  • The textile industry is one of the top three water wasting industries in China, discharging over 2.5 billion tons of wastewater every year.
  • Approximately 7,000 litres of water are needed to produce one pair of jeans (the amount of water one individual drinks in 5-6 years).
  • 17-20% of water pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment.
  • Approximately 8 000 synthetic chemicals are used to turn raw material into textiles.
  • Cotton uses 22,5% of the world’s insecticides and 10% of all pesticides on 2,5% of world’s agricultural land.
  • One in six people work in the global fashion industry.
  • Clothes made from polyester can take up to 200 years to break down.

Today consumers are paying attention to how their garments are manufactured, rejecting retailers that distribute fashion produced from sweatshops. Unlike countries that do, such as China and Bangladesh, SA does not have sweatshops, as health and safety regulations remain high by global standards. Consumers should be aware of these astounding facts and make an effort to recycle, donate and purchase second hand items where possible to reduce the strain on the planet.

Our ethos of quality, excellence and lasting wear equips teams to wear the best for years. For our team, value means that these shocking facts do not apply to our corner of the fabric industry. Get in touch with us here to talk about what we do and how we can do it for you.