How much carbon is a t-shirt?
A t-shirt is 7 kg of CO2 equivalent on average.
Most frequently used1 materials for t-shirts are cotton, polyester, viscose.
T-shirts are usually manufactured in China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Turkey or India. 2
The average carbon footprint of a t-shirt is 7 kg CO2 equivalent (kgCO2e)3. The lowest is Cotton (recycled), made in Vietnam (5 kgCO2e), the highest is Cotton, made in India (10 kgCO2e).
50% of the carbon footprint comes from wet treatment.
Manufacturing a t-shirt involves different processes such as knitting & weaving, wet treatment or confectioning.
These processes require about 10 Kilowatt-hour (Kwh)4 of energy. That is where the bulk of carbon emissions come from.
A t-shirt made in India has a carbon footprint 1.5x higher than a t-shirt made in Vietnam.
Countries rely more or less on fossil fuel to produce their electricity. That impacts the product carbon footprint.
For instance a t-shirt manufactured in India has a carbon footprint 1.5x higher than a t-shirt manufactured in Vietnam5.
Using recycled materials emits less carbon.
A t-shirt made of recycled materials tends to consume less energy and emits less carbon than a t-shirt made of non-recycled materials.
The difference is most notable between cotton and recycled cotton.