New California Bill Tackles Environmental Impact of Fast Fashion

  • 11 décembre 2023
  • Shayna Jan

The number one rule in fashion, according to yours truly, is holding onto your “corniest” pieces. This is coming from an unwavering proponent of the UGG boot – loyal even during periods of persecution – I never stopped advocating for the comfort and practicality they provided. While some may categorize this genuine belief as delusion, the cyclical nature of the fashion industry makes the return of UGGs almost inevitable. This concept has historically been referred to as the “20-year rule,” as trends have been known to come full circle every couple decades. However, in recent years, this window has been drastically reduced, as the rise of social media and the prevalence of influencer marketing has created an oversaturation of tastemakers and microtrends. Many fast fashion brands capitalize on these trends and mass-produce products at a rapid pace. Once these items go out of style and there is no longer any demand, the clothing is then discarded. In Canada, the average consumer throws away 81 pounds of textiles each year, contributing to the 10 million tonnes of clothing discarded by North Americans, annually. The fashion industry also accounts for around 20% of the world’s water consumption and 10% of the world’s total carbon emissions – more than the aviation and shipping industries combined.

California Senator, Josh Newman, is doing his part to alleviate the environmental impacts of fast fashion, with Bill SB 707 – otherwise known as the Responsible Textile Recovery Act of 2023. Once passed, this piece of legislation will place the onus on brands to account for what happens to their products after they’re sold. Under the Act, producers will be required to submit stewardship plans to the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, outlining how a producer intends to collect, transport, repair, and recycle products. Following this process, the department will be required to publish a list of producers in compliance and will be given the authority to impose penalties for violations. Senator Newman explains that Californians will still be encouraged to donate unwanted clothing to thrift stores, charities, and other collection sites. He also intends to increase education surrounding the second-hand market and hopes to encourage more sustainable shopping practices.