We all love a pair of jeans in the same hue as the deep blue sea. However, little thought is often given to the fact that the processes in which make a pair of indigo jeans so desirable is actually making our oceans less blue and more polluted. So today, on World Oceans Day, we take a deep dive into discovering how the denim industry is harming our waters and what we can do to be part of the solution.
Let’s take a swim to the denim capital of the world, the town of Xintang, China, where 200 million pairs of jeans are made annually. This, however, would not be a swim that we would want to take, as the water of the Pearl River has turned black due to the chemical waste streaming in from denim factory’s dye processes. The wastewater is a mix of dye, bleach, and detergent that contains heavy metals, which are neurotoxic and carcinogenic. These chemicals are linked to cancers and brain damage in humans and are deadly to surrounding wildlife and aquatic critters. This wastewater is often not treated properly before leaving the facilities, and is discharged into the surrounding environments.
Half a trillion gallons of fresh water are used in textile dyeing. Wastewater is discharged into nearby rivers more often untreated, regulations commonly ignored, eventually reaching the ocean and spreading all over the globe. These chemicals remain in our clothes even after they are produced and are only really removed from the fibers after several washes. So not only do these chemicals reside in our waters, but they are also making themselves at home on your skin until they’ve been through various laundry cycles.
So how can we help to eliminate this crisis of chemical runoffs into our oceans? Although there have been new developments in waterless dye technologies, the fashion industry has been reluctant to adapt since it is expensive and the process does not work on all kinds of textiles. Not to mention the industry’s obsession with fast fashion- aka quick & cheap- which make such technologies slow to be embraced. Our solution here at TagPop? Thrift of course! Show your love to our oceans with a pair of pre-loved Levi's, Lees, or Wrangler rather than buying them brand new. Sea turtles, dolphins, and whales will love you right back for it.
Get a pair of pre-loved Levi's, denim jackets, and more of our denim products here, starting at $9.50.