FIS World Sources for "The Primary School Butterfly Effect" Story

How one resale rack can alter the fashion system (…)

Every second of every day, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is burned or dumped in landfills[1]. Producing, washing and discarding synthetic clothes accounts for 20-35% of all microplastics in the ocean[2], and the water used to make any 100 cotton t-shirts and 100 jeans on display in a single retail shop is the same volume of water used by Germany in 2-4 weeks[3]. By 2030, fashion consumption is projected to rise by 63% – the equivalent to 500 billion new T-shirts[4] – and will have used an additional 115 million hectares of land to produce fibers[5]: an area the size of Germany, France, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands combined[6].


[1] The Ellen MacArthur Foundation “make Fashion Circular” report:

[2] “As much as 20% to 35% of all primary source microplastics in the marine environment are from synthetic clothing.” In “Fixing Fashion”, a UK Parliament Environmental Audit Committee report published February 2019, based on a research report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published in 2017

[3] „One kilogram of cotton - equivalent to the weight of a shirt and pair of jeans - can take as much as 10,000–20,000 litres of water to produce.” In “Fixing Fashion” by the UK Parliament (pub date Feb 2019) based on a July 2017 report by WRAP, “Valuing Our Clothes” ( USED to compute how much 100 shirts + 100 jeans (10,000-20,000 times 100 = 1-2M liters of water) were equivalent in terms of water consumption in Germany:

Statista “Water Consumption in Selected Countries” (In Germany in 2016, 311.9 cubic meters (1cm3 =1000 liters) )

EUROSTAT statistics for the population of Germany in 2016 (82,18 million) (

Computation: (water required to produce 100 pairs of shirts + 100 pairs of jeans, 1-2M liters) / (population of Germany in 2016 x consumption per capita and per day in Germany in 2016, 70224,5 liters/day ) = 14,24 to 28,48, i.e., the water used to produce 100 shirts+100 jeans could quench the thirst of Germany for 14,24 to 28,48 days approx. = 2-4 weeks

[4] In „The Pulse of The Fashion Industry Report” (pub 2017) by the Boston Consulting Group and Global Fashion Agenda,

[5] In „The Pulse of The Fashion Industry Report” (pub 2017) by the Boston Consulting Group and Global Fashion Agenda,

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