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.

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Picture of Will Grimond
Media and Communications Officer

Picture of Josie Warden
Senior Researcher, RSA

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