4 Clothing Companies Making a Terrible Impact on the Environment

I try to be environmentally responsible. I pack lunches with reusable containers and carry a bright-green Nalgene bottle all the time that I fill from water fountains and self-serve drink machines. I’m not perfect – my car doesn’t get the best gas mileage, but I can’t afford another one. But the issue of environmental friendliness is a multi-faceted one, and one way that consumers can be more environmentally conscious is to wield the power they have with their dollar. What I mean is, decide where to spend money based on the company’s carbon footprint.

1. Victoria’s Secret

While a favorite for many men and women seeking high-quality lingerie, Victoria has a bad rep when it comes to environmental friendliness. The company policy states that returned clothes are to be destroyed, not resold. Now, I know that it would skeeve me out a little bit if I picked up undies at Victoria’s Secret’s and there was a possibility they’d been worn by someone else, however briefly. However, anyone who has been inside a Victoria’s Secret store in the past decade knows that they sell way more than underwear. They sell sweatpants, t-shirts, sweatshirts, and a whole range of other clothes that could possibly be reworn after being returned. Instead, the company has their employees cut the clothes up and dispose of them.

2. Burberry

Burberry has faced much public scrutiny for its production of fur clothes, and it’s not the only company to face judgement. But, whether or not we agree with the morality of wearing fur, the fact remains that it isn’t great for the environment. The processing that takes place to produce a fur coat causes a lot of carbon emissions, and the chemicals used to treat the fur can damage the land and water around the factory fur farm. In addition, these chemicals also make the fur non-biodegradable. There’s also the carbon emissions created shipping the fur all over the world.

3. Joe Fresh

This clothing company is the product of a Canadian man named Joe Mimran. It features typical “fast fashion” clothes – cheap, poorly made clothes that are manufactured in huge factories in Asian companies where the workers are forced into long hours for little pay while the factories emit harsh chemicals into the air and water around it. And then, Joe Fresh, like Victoria’s Secret, has a habit of destroying perfectly good clothes. They’re guilty of not only destroying returns, but unsold merchandise that has “aged out” of the display and isn’t “trendy” anymore. Forget the fact that perfectly good clothes, while perhaps a fashion faux-paus, might be a great donation to a charity or homeless shelter. A good way to make sure we aren’t sending money to companies who destroy clothes is to shop at thrift stores – their whole business is based off of reusing instead of trashing.

4. Wal-mart

Yes, this huge corporation seems to be taking over America – they pop up quickly and like viruses. Mom and Pop shops are dying a horrible death and local farmers can’t compete. Wal-mart sells clothes, in addition to almost everything under the sun. The corporation has an immense carbon footprint that ranges from trucking merchandise across the country, wasting boxes and bags unpacking the merchandise, and destroying merchandise and produce that didn’t sell quickly enough.

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