Danes’ use of clothing costs the environment over three billion kroner ($514 million) each year, according to a new report from the Danish Environmental Protection Agency (Miljøstyrelsen) that hopes to draw attention to the economic impact that the apparel sector has on the environment.
According to the calculations from the agency’s ‘Danish apparel sector natural capital account’, each simple cotton T-shirt costs the environment nearly 22 kroner ($3.75) through its use of water, fertiliser and energy use. And given that every single Dane uses an average of 16 kilos of clothing each year, those environment costs are too high, Environment Minister Kirsten Brosbøl said.
“Everything from the huge amounts of pesticides and water use for cotton fields to the CO2 emissions created from the production of leather and zippers negatively impacts the environment. Now we can see what it costs and even though nearly all of our clothing is produced abroad, we still have a responsibility,” Brosbøl said in a statement.
With over 83 percent of Danish apparel imported as a finished product, the Environmental Protection Agency’s economic calculations show that the biggest environmental impact of Denmark’s textile consumption is in countries like China, India and Turkey.
Therefore, Brosbøl said that the Environment Ministry is currently working on a strategy to reduce Danes’ wasteful habits that will focus heavily on the use of clothing.
“We can all do something to protect the environment. For example, we can buy quality clothing that lasts longer and give our clothes to others instead of just throwing it out when we get tired of it,” she said.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s economic calculations were released in conjunction with the Global Green Growth Forum taking place in Copenhagen on Monday and Tuesday. The full report can be found below: