How big is the carbon footprint of YOUR T-shirt?

It is very clear that the environment is our most precious good we have and there for it is our responsibility to take care of the planet we all live on, so that our children are still able to enjoy the walks into the forrest and to enjoy the beaches and clean water to swim in.

Although we are aware of this we all still can use a reminder and some inspiration on how to reduce our own Co2 Emissions.

Did you know that 52% (1,22kg) of the total footprint from a T-shirt is your responsibility in wearing, washing, ironing and drying your T-shirt.

What is carbon footprint?

First things first, before starting with the numbers let’s start at the beginning what is Carbon footprint?

Carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment, and in particular climate change. It relates to the amount of greenhouse gases produced in our day-to-day lives through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating and transportation etc.

The carbon footprint is a measurement of all greenhouse gases we individually produce and has units of tonnes (or kg) of carbon dioxide equivalent.

A carbon footprint is made up of the sum of two parts, the primary footprint and the secondary footprint

1. The primary footprint is a measure of our direct emissions of Co2 from the burning of fossil fuels including domestic energy consumption and transportation (e.g. car and plane). We have direct control of these.

2. The secondary footprint is a measure of the indirect Co2 emissions from the whole lifecycle of products we use - those associated with their manufacture and eventual breakdown. To put it very simply – the more we buy the more emissions will be caused on our behalf.

1 tonnes of Co2 weighs as much as 10 baby elephants or an adult giraffe and would takes up the same space as a 10m wide, 25m long and 2m deep swimming pool! 

What produces 1 tonnes of Co2? 4,428 km drive by car or 16,093 km drive by bus!

Big Footprint:

Studies showed that over the whole life-cycle of the product, from manufacture to disposal the Co2 Emissions add up on average to a total of more than 10 kilograms. The most variable part of this can be traced back to use of the clothing as washing, drying and ironing cause considerable Co2 emissions. For instance a ladies’ white long-shirt, on average 3.3 kilograms of Co2 are produced during use before its disposal, if it’s assumed that it will be washed around 55 times before it becomes rubbish. If the product is put in the dryer each time and then ironed, The Co2 emissions increase, just from use of the product, to almost 12 kilograms. The Product Carbon Footprint then increases from approximately 10 to around 19 kilograms.

A total of around 7 kilograms of CO2 were generated before the customer took the long- shirt home. Just cultivating the cotton for the long-shirt produced more than one kilogram of CO2. Production of the item of clothing uses another 3 kilograms of CO2. The spinning company, which processes the cotton for yarn, and the dye works each account for 1 kilogram of CO2. Manufacture of the material and sewing uses another kilogram of CO2. Dark textiles cause double the amount of CO2 during dyeing as light or white clothing. The remaining approximate 3 kilograms of CO2 are produced by packing, compilation of the catalogue, storage and dispatch of the product.

Although the shirt covers a distance of around 19,000 kilometers from Asia to the Netherlands, the emissions from transportation by ship only amount to around 70 grams of the whole Product Carbon Footprint. On the other hand, if the long-shirt comes by plane instead of by ship the Product Carbon Footprint increases by approximately 3.5 kilograms.

A lot of people already enjoyed this valuable information and now it is time that you are able to enjoy this information and learn from this FREE report I made with 12 easy steps to reduce your own co2 emission by 50%.

This report gives you an overview with some figures about your laundry machine you never thought of and gives you 12 easy steps you can use at home and safe the environment and keep money in your pocket.

Please share your tips, suggestions or advices in the comment box below

And.... if you want, you can share this valuable information to humans just like you. simply by sharing your message with the share buttons below.

On our way to Zero Waste!

Jeroen van der Heide

Founder & Ecopreneur

#zerowastetshirts #carbonfootprint #environmentfriendly 


Sandeep B.N. 15 Oktober 2017

Very useful and explained in simple terms ... would like to be in touch..

Janek Wuigk 14 Oktober 2017

Hey, can I get that PDF for reducing my emissions, great article, using some information for a video to help others protecting the environment.

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