Fast fashion: Who should pay to make clothes more environmentally friendly?

Last updated at 08:14
Discarded clothes on a rubbish pile.Srdjanns74
A new report by a group of MPs have said that brands and big shops should have to pay to help deal with the problem of clothes simply being chucked away

Brands and big shops should have to pay 1p per item they sell in order to pay for better clothes waste collection and recycling, according to a new report by a group of members of Parliament (MPs).

Currently, less than 1% of the material used to make clothes is being recycled into new garments when the clothes are no longer wanted.

Mary Creagh, who was head of the group which produced the report, said: "Fashion retailers should be forced to pay for the impact of their clothes when they're thrown away."

Top with the recycling logo on.Getty Images
The idea is that money raised from the 1p charge could help to fund a £35 million annual clothes recycling scheme

Other recommendations included in the report said that the way fashion companies pay tax could be changed too to reward those that offer - for example - repair services or make an effort to reduce the impact of their products on the environment.

"Children should be taught the joy of making and mending clothes in school," added Mary.

The MPs explained that so-called 'fast fashion' is a major contributor to greenhouse gases, water pollution, air pollution and using too much water - all of which have an impact on the environment.

'Fast fashion' is the name given to how quickly people buy and chuck away clothes nowadays. Sometimes, people only wear garments once before discarding them.

Currently, it is thought that in the UK we buy more clothes than any other country in Europe.

So what is the story of fast fashion? Follow the interactive below to find out more about it.

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The report doesn't just focus on the impact of fast fashion on the environment, though.

MPs also say that they have concerns about who is making the vast quantities of clothing needed to drive fast fashion in the UK - for example, workers who are too young, people being forced to work in other countries or workers not being paid enough.

Woman shopping.Getty Images
Some say that shoppers have a responsibility not to buy as many clothes and to recycle or repair the ones that they do have

Campaigners have said that the report and what it recommends doesn't really go far enough, though.

Many believe that more needs to be done to put a stop to how much and how quickly we buy and throw away clothing.

Libby Peake from Green Alliance told the BBC: "One of the areas in which you could make a big difference in terms of your personal climate change impact is by reducing the amount of clothes you buy and keeping them for longer, then donating them to charity shops to keep them in the national wardrobe."

So we want to know what you think. How much do you buy and discard clothing? Do you think that more needs to be done? How can we tackle the issue?

Let us know in the poll and comment below.

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