Clothes in Japan help emit 95 mil. tons of CO2 a year, mostly overseas

30 Apr 21 21 hours ago – 12:37 KYODO NEWS

Screenshot taken on April 30, 2021, shows the website “Sustainable Fashion,” launched by Japan’s Environment Ministry. (Kyodo)

Tokyo – Clothing items sold in Japan contribute to generating over 95 million tons of carbon dioxide a year, mostly emitted during the manufacturing process overseas, a government estimate has showed.

The process of manufacturing and transporting clothes is estimated to produce 90.09 million tons of CO2 or 94.6 percent of the total, according to Japan’s Environment Ministry. Of 819,000 tons of garments supplied to the Japanese market in 2020, 799,000 tons or about 98 percent were imported from overseas.

The remaining some 5 million tons are attributed mostly to burning unsold clothes of stock and power supply for laundry. The first such estimate by the government finds each item contributes to around 25 kilograms of CO2, the ministry said.

The apparel industry accounts for 10 percent of global carbon emissions, according to a U.N. Environment Program report. Of the emissions in the industry, the Japanese apparel supply chains account for 4.5 percent, the Environment Ministry said.

The ministry last month launched a website to call on consumers to recycle more clothes, while urging the fashion industry to work on new production processes to reduce CO2 emissions.

A total of about 510,000 tons of clothes were disposed of in Japan last year without being recycled or reused, according to the ministry.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in late April revealed a new goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 46 percent by fiscal 2030 from fiscal 2013 levels in a climate summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden.

In line with the new pledge, the ministry now hopes to raise awareness of the environmental impact from the textile industry such as CO2 emissions and water pollution, mainly from factories.

“Through providing the information online, we hope consumers know more about the environmental damage from their clothing items, and think about recycling before throwing away,” a ministry official said.