The Approaches for Circular Textile and Apparel Industry in India (ACTAII) report provides valuable insights into resource consumption, waste generation, and potential areas for improvement for the Indian apparel and textile sector.

This project aims to help India’s textile and apparel industry embrace circular economy principles by developing circular economy guidelines, circularity training modules, and collaborating with startups through an innovation challenge.

It was found that while considerable opportunities exist to reduce wastage, challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, limited government support, and lower consumer demand for sustainable products exist.

The report points out that to start with project activities, a baseline study was essential to determine the present status of circularity adoption in the Indian Textile & Apparel (T&A) sector.

Following this, the study was initiated with a focus on the sector’s current situation concerning circular business practices, and the challenges, hotspots and potential areas of circular interventions.

The report further explains that the study subsequently continued with visits to various production facilities across the value chain, contributing to mapping fibre and textile waste in pre-consumer processes.

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Key observations

The following are some key areas that have been identified by observing existing circularity practices where the industry can focus its efforts to improve circularity:

  • Waste management – The industry can reduce waste by improving its product design, using more sustainable materials, and recycling more waste.
  • Infrastructure – The industry must invest in infrastructure supporting circularity, such as recycling facilities and collection centres.
  • Value chain education and awareness – The industry needs to educate its stakeholders about the benefits of circularity and how they can contribute to it.
  • Government policy – The Government can support circularity by providing incentives for sustainable practices and regulating the industry to reduce its environmental impact.
  • Research & Development – The industry must invest in Research and Development to develop new technologies and manufacturing processes, supporting circularity.
  • Consumer engagement – The industry needs to engage consumers in circularity by making it easy for them to recycle their clothes and buy sustainable products.
  • End-of-life management – Recycling, upcycling, donation, and other practices should be explored to manage post-consumer waste properly.

In addition to this, the report suggests that by implementing the ‘6Rs Strategy’ (Redesign, Reduce, Reuse, Remanufacture, Recycle and Regenerate), the Indian textile and apparel industry can significantly reduce its environmental impact and contribute to a more circular economy.

The report concludes the Indian textile and apparel industry is making significant strides towards circularity. However, by leveraging traditional practices of reusing and recycling textiles and adopting circularity principles, the industry can contribute to waste reduction, resource conservation, and the overall sustainability of the sector.

In fact, scaling up identified circular practices and promoting novel innovations throughout the value chain will showcase India’s commitment to a circular economy in the industry.

Prajakta L Verma, IAS, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India, believes the Textile and Apparel sector is a major economic sector in India.

Verma says: “The integration of sustainability and circularity principles in the value chain is imperative for the larger good of our planet and its people. I wish success to the project team in their endeavour to demonstrate circular approaches in the sector.”

Earlier in August, Just Style exclusively spoke to India’s apparel manufacturers who revealed the latest sourcing opportunities in the country but at the same time highlighted that the sector seeks government intervention to get it on par domestically with international sustainability standards.