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June 16, 2022

New policy group to advance textile circularity in US

A new group launched in the US aims to align fashion’s circularity community on the development of supportive policy to address the challenges to scaling domestic textile recovery and end-of-life solutions.

By Fi Forrest

The newly formed American Circular Textiles (ACT) policy group, was spearheaded by Circular Services Group (CSG) and Resource Recycling Systems (RRS) and another 11 founder members.

ACT is focused on advancing circular textile policy in the US, with an initial focus on textile reuse.

After gathering a large group of stakeholders to endorse New York’s Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act (A8352/S7428), with recommendations that circularity policy is included in the bill, Rachel Kibbe, CEO of CSG, and Marisa Ader, senior consultant from RRS, realised the urgent need for a formal working body to represent the interests of circular fashion and its stakeholders. Kibbe and Adler believe ACT provides a “critical missing piece in achieving the research, funding, and policy support that the circular economy will need to scale in the United States.”

ACT will host learning sessions and workshops to engage in an open dialogue about the challenges to scaling reuse. Its 2022 objective is to align on and publish a position paper by the end of the year, outlining industry-supported policy mechanisms that will advance textile reuse, a preferred materials management approach starting at the top of the circular economy waste hierarchy. The position paper will be directed to local and state legislators, policymakers, and government officials. 

ACT’s founding members are reuse and rental service providers, including:  ThredUp, Rent The Runway, The Real Real, CaaStle, Thrilling, Trove, Treet, Recurate, SuperCircle, Fashionphile, and Tersus.

In the coming weeks, ACT will onboard additional select circular economy service providers, including repair organisations, as well as brands and retailers, industry NGOs, non-profits, academic institutions, and government agencies. The group describes itself as action-oriented and says it will facilitate honest dialogue concerning the fashion sector’s unique circular economy challenges, agree upon supportive policy recommendations, and provide learnings from outside stakeholders.

In 2023, ACT will expand its scope to include textile recyclers and other stakeholders in the circular economy value chain to holistically address textile end-of-life issues. ACT’s long-term mission is to establish a formal body to support companies and organisations involved in the circular economy in the apparel and footwear sectors.

“As a leader in recommerce, Rent the Runway has long believed in the power of wearing and celebrating clothing to its fullest potential as a way to curb the enormous amount of waste the industry generates,” says Megan Farrell, had of sustainability at Rent the Runway. “To take our collective work to the next level, we need solutions that will help scale textile recycling and reuse once a garment has reached the end of its wearable life. We’re happy to join ACT and  drive progress on this important work together.”

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