Turning the tide: Public attitudes on plastics and fast fashion

Policy briefing

  • Creative economy
  • Design

The growing use of plastics in fashion is a problem – an increasing amount of harmful petrochemicals are being used to make clothing, which is rarely recycled, and ultimately ends up in our environments.

The public wants action on the use of plastics, and most say that they are trying to reduce the amount of plastics in their everyday lives. There is also a broad desire for more action on the use of petrochemicals by the fashion industry.

But the public is reluctant to say that they actually buy synthetic fibres, with only a third of us saying that we regularly buy clothing containing synthetic materials, despite plastics accounting for the majority of textile production.

In response to the growing issue of plastics in fashion, the RSA is calling for new measures to turn the tide, including a tax on virgin plastics used in clothing; a ban on marketing petrochemical-derived clothing; and a commission to prepare for the future of fashion.

pdf 418.6 KB


Picture of Will Grimond
Media and Communications Officer

Picture of Josie Warden
Senior Researcher, RSA

Related articles

  • A toolkit for workplace wellbeing


    Helen Fitzhugh

    Many employers realise wellbeing in the workplace promotes good mental health AND productivity, but don’t know where to begin. Kevin Daniels and Helen Fitzhugh talk about a new, free, online toolkit to get them started

  • Announcing the Pupil Design Award winners 2022


    Hannah Breeze Aidan Daly (Researcher)

    Read about the winners of the RSA Pupil Design Awards 2021 – 2022. The teams have provided us with a range of innovative ideas that tackle challenges in the food, education and built-environment systems.

  • RSA CEO Andy Haldane speaks at the Bradford Literature Festival

    Fellowship news

    RSA chief exec Andy Haldane gave the inaugural Bradford Literature Festival Culture Sector Lecture at the University of Bradford on Friday 24 June 2022.