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Why is Cashmere Fiber a Sustainable Choice?

Have you wondered if the clothes you are wearing right now are behind the wreckage of your planet? The study says that 10% of global carbon emissions come from the textile industry.

It is whipping more than 1.7 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. If only we could implement sustainable practices in making our clothes, we could extend the life span of our mother planet.

Cashmere fibers are considered one of the eco-friendly alternatives for the fashion industry. Not only style, Cashmere is soft, warm, durable, and recyclable. Fiber is a completely natural part of the circular economy. It means it is the utilization of excess hair that should be extracted from the Cashmere goats.

The question regarding saving the planet arises of how these domestic goats are handled and the process of manufacturing cashmere garments.

The best way to get answers is to look at the statistics behind cashmere production compared to other common textile industries. We will also go through some of the potential adverse impacts of Cashmere. The aim is to look for an answer: How much planet will be saved if we wear a cashmere garment?

Impact of the Textile Industry on the Planet

Every year more than 100 billion garments are produced globally. Most of them are unrecyclable and can’t be reused. Here are some shocking facts that highlight the impact of textiles on the planet:

  • 80% of the garments end up in landfill within a few years of production rather than being recycled.
  • 10% of global carbon emissions and 20% of global water pollution are due to textile production.
  • 75% of the clothes have cotton in them with 2% of global agricultural land being used for cotton farming.
  • Cotton farms are responsible for 24% of global pesticide usage.
  • To produce 1 kilogram of cotton fiber, it requires 7000-29000 liters of water.
  • Organic cotton (grown without the use of pesticides) is 90% less vulnerable to the planet but they are produced less than 1% of total cotton production.
  • The lifespan of cotton fiber is moderately low about 2-5 years.
  • Nylon and Polyester Fabric are significantly vulnerable to resource depletion. Based on the Higg Index, the impacts are 18.3 (nylon) and 12.6 (polyester), categorized as vulnerable.
  • Ocean shipping contributes to 17% of global carbon emissions with textiles making up 8% of cargo volume.
  • If you wash 6 Kg of synthetic clothes, it will release 700000 microfibers.
  • An average consumes 13.8 kgs of garment every year.
  • The number of times a cloth is worn by a person is reduced by 36% in the last 15 years.
  • 90% of thrown garments can be recycled but no one is giving proper attention to it.
  • The life cycle impact of average Levi jeans – climate change equals 69 miles worth of car drive, water consumption equals 3 days’ worth of water required for an average US household, and over-nutrient release equals phosphorus found in 1700 tomatoes.

These are just a few statistics on how our clothes are impacting the planet. The more we think of it, the more horror it brings. These impacts can be lowered by the use of sustainable fabrics.

Sustainability Statistics of Cashmere Fibers

Weaving cashmere wrap

Manufactured using undercoats of Cashmere goats, these fibers are one of the best examples of eco-friendly garments. The Cashmere industry holds 7% of the share of the global textile industry.

On top of that, the traditional manufacturing method is resource-friendly. Let’s look at some sustainability statistics of Cashmere:

  • It takes 1-5 years for a pure cashmere to decompose. This means land pollution can be averted if you wear pure cashmere garments.
  • Goats are responsible for 4% of emissions of global animal greenhouse gases.
  • There are more than a billion goats in the world out of which 700 millions are cashmere goats. It means cashmere goats are responsible for 3% of global animal GHG emissions. As all cashmere goats are not used for textiles, cashmere raised for garments has a minimal carbon footprint.
  • It takes about 120 liters of water to produce 1 kg of cashmere fibers. For the dyeing process, an extra 180 liters of water is required.
  • Most of the carbon footprint, 78.6% out of 73KgCO2e is emitted during the premanufacturing period. Manufacturing a cashmere garment just generates a 15.6KgCO2e carbon footprint.
  • The Cashmere fiber easily lasts for 10 years, with more than 200 wear.

Is saving the planet possible by using Cashmere garments?

Cashmere garments can have a positive impact on environment conservation compared to other textiles. 8% of waste dumped every year is garments. That amounts to more than 165 million tons. If we were to replace every clothing with biodegradable cashmere fibers, the total waste in the dumpyard would be reduced by 165 million tons.

The amount of water required for producing 1 kg of cashmere is much less, almost 6800 liters less. The amount of resources we save compared to synthetic fibers is much more significant.

Farming goats are only responsible for less than 1% of GHG emissions. Since the handmade procedure is much more sustainable, the emission scale will be much less than 10% emission by the textile industry.

If we only look at shares of the textile industry, 13.3% are wool-based garments. Replacing the remaining 76.7 with sustainable cashmere can bring a huge upliftment to the planet’s status. In addition, cashmere fiber lasts way longer than the cotton fiber. People do not need to buy more clothes ultimately lowering the textile volume for dump and recycle.

The real issue can be cashmere goats are vigorous grazers. When a sheep grazes in a certain region, the vegetation takes 1 season to grow back. However, the pasture where cashmere goats graze requires almost 3 seasons to be green again. Upscaling cashmere and replacing every textile with it can be challenging if this issue is not taken into consideration.

With a proper grazing sequence plan, Cashmere can do wonders for the planet. It does have the potential to save the planet from garment dump. But, it’s not a complete solution to saving the planet.

A more holistic approach that includes reducing demand for textiles overall. Promoting proper disposal or recycling of textiles, and finding alternatives to synthetic fibers could have a greater impact on reducing the environmental footprint of the textile industry as a whole.