Young people’s love of fast fashion is coming under the scrutiny of Britain’s law-makers. MPs say the fashion industry is a major source of the greenhouse gases that are overheating the planet. Discarded clothes are also piling up in landfill sites and fibre fragments are flowing into the sea when clothes are washed. The retailers admit more needs to be done, but say they are already working to reduce the impact of their products.







Link to the latest BBC news story about fast fashion: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45745242



  • turnaround – the process of completing or the time needed to complete a task, especially one involving receiving something, processing it, and sending it out again.
  • knockoffa copy or imitation of someone or something popular that sells for less than the original
  • to get out of hand – to become difficult to control
  • landfill – the disposal of waste material by burying it, especially as a method of filling in and reclaiming excavated pits
  • dye – a natural or synthetic substance used to add a colour to or change the colour of something
  • apparel – clothing
  • sustainable – able to be maintained at a certain rate or level

Watch and listen

Answer the questions below.

  • How often does the average American buy clothing? (00:20)
  • How fast can turnaround at chain stores be? (00:30)
  • What percentage of an average American’s spending budget is spent on clothes? (01:00)
  • What is the projected volume of clothing waste for 2019? (01:20)
  • What is the link between fast fashion and environmental pollution? (01:50)
  • What can we do to reduce the impact of fast fashion? (02:40)


Practice Makes Perfect


Fill in the blanks with the following words/phrases. Go to: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45745242 to find out more.

head     far     call     unwanted     volume     throw away     garments     fibres     harm     ban

What do MPs say?

The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee says there is a basic problem with an industry that relies on persuading people to 1)__________ good clothes because they are “last year’s colour”.

It quotes evidence that:

  • British shoppers buy 2)_____ more new clothes than any nation in Europe
  • People are buying twice as many items of clothing as they did a decade ago
  • Fish in the seas are eating synthetic 3)________ dislodged in the wash

The MPs have written to the UK’s top fashion bosses asking how they can maintain the £28bn benefit their industry brings to the UK economy, while reducing the environmental 4)________.


What are the solutions?

The committee’s report to government could include a 5)_______ for the fashion industry to create less pollution, a demand for longer life for 6)_________ and a 7)_______ on dumping clothes in landfill.

The MPs also have concerns about social impacts. They believe fast fashion is fuelling quick turnarounds among suppliers, which may lead to poor working conditions.


What do retailers say in response?

Peter Andrews, 8)______ of sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, told BBC News that population growth and increased demand have led to an increase in the overall 9)_________ and environmental impact of clothing.

But, he said his members are now designing products that are made to last, and they are encouraging customers to return 10)_________ clothes for reuse.



1.throw away 2. far 3. fibres 4. harm 5. call 6. garments 7. ban 8. head 9. volume 10. unwanted


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