Chile’s Desert Dumping Ground for Fast Fashion


The large dumping ground for fast fashion clothes is growing by about 39,000 tons each year. In the Atacama Desert in Chile, clothes are piled across about 741 acres of land. The clothes that end up in the desert consist almost entirely of fast fashion. The pile has grown so large that it has been given nicknames such as, “worlds dumpster” and the “Great Fashion Garbage Patch”. Over time, Chile has become a major spot for secondhand clothing exports with about 59,000 tons of used clothing from all over the world that are shipped to Chile each year. The major cause of this issue is the amount of clothing that is being produced. When clothing can’t be sold, recycled, or disposed of in landfills and they are dumped in Chile’s Atacama Desert and about 39,000 of the 59,000 clothes that are imported to Chile are illegally dumped in the desert every year. Due to fast fashion clothing not being recyclable or biodegradable, the government doesn’t allow fast fashion clothing to be disposed of in their landfills. The amount of clothing that is getting dumped is so large that some have resorted to burning the clothes in order to get rid of them. In June 2022, about 100,000 tons of clothing were burned in a fire that lasted about 15 days. Many of the residents in that area were overwhelmed with the air pollution that came from the constant fires.