Unsustainable footwear consumption

Written by: Emma Shukie and Charlie Jordan (ethicul)

An infographic on consumer trends with the Footwear industry created by the author of this article, Emma Shukie

The fashion industry is notoriously known for being unsustainable; and it is evident that footwear is no exception. We all love a new pair of shoes, right? Well we must do, as the global footwear market is set to grow by over 25% by the time we reach 2024. Although this is exciting news for the big brands, as they will be able throw more money at promoting their sustainable footwear range and try convince us that they are all about the greater good; it's somewhat worrying for everyone else and our planet.

Staggeringly, it is estimated that around 85% of all clothes and footwear produced goes to landfill. It is inevitable that some clothing and footwear will go into waste, but 85% is scarily high. It's easy to think this isn't our problem, but it really is. Landfills take up much of our valuable space and are an unsustainable form of waste management - representing a significant source of air and water pollution. With the market growing, landfills will continue to be crammed full of unwanted garments if we don't do something about it.

However, it's not all doom and gloom. 65% of consumers believe it is important to buy from environmentally responsible companies. This does pose the question, is simply having a 'range' of sustainable footwear enough? Bearing in mind the entire range is often HUGE! For me, the concept should be flipped on its head. Companies should be making the majority of their ranges sustainable as standard. But why always buy new 35% of us are open and willing to purchase second hand items, which should be music to all of our ears. Pre-owned clothing feeds directly into the model of a circular economy, which is crucial in reducing our waste and bringing that horrifying 85% statistic down. From the infographic, it is clear that our intention is there, but we just need to do more of it. Let's put our money where our heart is when it comes to clothing and footwear. Buy less, buy second hand and buy from those who are genuinely environmentally responsible.

Join the growing ethicul community

Related stories

A large local sign within a shop window

How does shopping locally help the economy?

A grey couch situated in a living room

Alternative sustainable products for your home