It is no secret that the textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, both in terms of production and disposal. But what is usually overlooked, or not known, is that the real problem is often unsold goods.
Fast fashion comes at a price that the environment has to pay, and consequently so do we. Many of the brands with a business model based on the speed with which their clothes are produced and placed on the shelves have become giants by selling fashionable clothes cheaply. They dictate seasonal trends and then launch new ones. But have we ever wondered what happens to unsold items? What impact does this process have? Is there such a thing as sustainable fast fashion?

The fact that the textile industry is responsible for around 10% of greenhouse gas emissions is no mystery. But it is not only the clothing production process that pollutes: the enormous impact of overproduction is often overlooked. For fear of devaluing their goods in the eyes of customers, some brands burn unsold items rather than give discounts. Many fast-fashion chains resort to this practice, because they produce more than they can sell, with the aggravating circumstance that they have neither stopped nor decreased production, but continue to churn out new clothes. 
Unfortunately, brands do not become sustainable on their own: they are driven by demand. However, it is wrong to condemn consumerism. Trying to reduce people's environmental impact by encouraging them to buy less would have devastating social consequences. What is probably more important is that consumers begin to change their consumption habits. In this respect, many have shown greater sensitivity to environmental issues and are interested in buying sustainable products. According to a Nielsen survey, 48% of US citizens say they would like to change their purchasing habits to reduce their environmental footprint. The most sensitive are young people: 53% of boys and girls aged 21-34 say they have abandoned well-known brands in favor of eco-friendly brands, probably sensitized by today's concerns about climate change; in contrast, only 34% of people aged 50-64 can say the same.

Some reuse second-hand goods, putting the motto reduce, reuse, recycle into practice. If you want to get rid of clothes you no longer wear, but which are still in good condition, you can sell them online; whoever buys them saves money and helps to avoid pollution. Whether this is a trend, a way to earn a little money, or actually a demonstration of affection for the planet, we do not know. What is certain is that it is helping the environment around us. 

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