"Deep in the Atacama Desert of Chile, new dunes are forming — not of sand, but
of last year's unsold clothing from around the world. Piled high atop the
previous year's fast fashion casualties and unpurchased lines of clothes, the
garments are usually filled with toxins and dyes and do not biodegrade. The
result: a fast fashion faux-pas and environmental disaster that's been largely
overlooked — until now.
Aljazeera estimated that up to 59,000 tons of clothes that can't be sold in the
U.S. or Europe end up at the Iquique port in the Alto Hospicio free zone in
northern Chile each year. These are meant for resale in Latin America, but only
20,000 tons actually make their way around the continent.
What doesn't get sold in Santiago or smuggled and shipped to other countries
stays in the free zone. It's no one's responsibility to clean up and no one
will pay the necessary tariffs to take it away, Aljazeera reported.
Unfortunately, clothing may take hundreds of years to biodegrade, if at all.
Municipal landfills will not accept the textiles because of the chemical
products contained therein, NY Post reported. Therefore, eventually up to
39,000 tons of unsold and unwanted clothes get trucked to the driest desert in
the world each year, where they literally blanket the dunes in layers and
layers of discarded textiles."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics