More than nine tonnes of unwanted clothing has been collected in a single month in Hong Kong as part of the territory’s efforts to build a circular economy for clothing and speed up its development.

Organised by local NGO Redress, which works to reduce textile waste and promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry, ‘Get Redressed Month’ aims to tackle the issue of textile waste. Along with the garment collection drive, the October initiative also included a series of events and educational activities to create awareness and shift behaviours among the general public.

“Across the world, every second the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned – and here in Hong Kong we are disposing around 280 garments per minute into overflowing landfills every single day,” says Redress founder Dr Christina Dean. “We firmly believe that Hong Kongers can – and will – embrace our vision to create a truly circular economy for clothing, whilst creating real impact for communities in need right here in Hong Kong.”

With all logistics provided by the Li & Fung Foundation, October’s Get Redressed Month saw companies from different sectors coming together to find solutions to textile waste.

Every item of clothing received by Redress was individually assessed and sorted in order to maximise its lifespan and minimise environmental impact.

In Hong Kong alone the amount of clothes thrown away annually has more than doubled in just seven years, Redress says. The NGO believes the time is right to push the issue of textile waste onto the mainstream agenda and is now collecting clothing via 17 permanent collection points across the city with another two rolling out in January 2019.

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To date, Redress has successfully collected, sorted and re-distributed 41 tonnes of post-consumer clothing within Hong Kong and is also expanding its work with brands to find solutions to deadstock and end-of-roll fabric waste.

“The success of Get Redressed Month is testament to both the organisation’s incredibly passionate people and the meaningful work they’re doing which helps consumers better understand important issues around fashion and the environment,” said Lawrence Wong, community engagement lead, Li & Fung. “The Li & Fung Foundation is delighted to continue to provide our support.”

The initiative follows the opening of two first-of-their-kind textile recycling facilities in Hong Kong earlier this year. The openings include a new pre-industrial size facility that will produce recycled yarn from post-consumer apparel and a miniaturised Garment-To-Garment Recycling System that will demonstrate to consumers the entire garment-to-garment recycling loop.