The "fast fashion" industry is becoming a growing concern to the environment. T-shirts and sweaters are becoming cheaper and cheaper, with the commercial premise that they can be used and discarded without a second thought. Teenagers love the concept since their style and new trends can be changed without a heavy strain on their budget.
However, the cheap clothing contributes to the current carbon emissions and global warming because of how they are produced, and also cared for. Although organic cotton with "natural" fibres avoids pesticides, the maintenance of being washed at high temperatures counteracts the environmentally friendly aspect of it.
The main concern for thinking green is usually reducing the packaging, and recycling cans, bottles and paper. However, clothing can be donated for worthy causes such as to the Salvation Army or also to a recycling centre.
Synthetic materials such as polyester use less energy. They can be washed in cooler temperatures and need less ironing. Most garments also don't need to be tumbled dry (which requires huge amounts of energy) and are better hang dried.
This is more of a concern in North America, and Western Europe, while poorer places obviously rely on hand-me-downs within the family.
Sixty per cent of the carbon emissions generated by a simple cotton T-shirt comes from the 25 washes and machine dryings it will require, the Cambridge study found.
A polyester blouse, by contrast, takes more energy to make, since synthetic fabric comes from materials like wood and oil. But upkeep is far more fuel-efficient, since polyester cleans more easily and dries faster.
Over a lifetime, a polyester blouse uses less energy than a cotton T-shirt.