This may sound a little harsh given clothing and textile waste is an issue talked about extensively in this industry. And don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of initiatives launching regularly to try to tackle this growing problem that fast fashion has undoubtedly contributed to. But I’m not convinced it is enough right now.
I spotted some figures recently from Earth.org that will give you an idea of just how big a challenge the fashion industry is facing. Of the 100 billion garments produced each year, 92 million tonnes worth end up in landfills.
To put things in perspective, this means that the equivalent of a rubbish truck full of clothes ends up on landfill sites every second. By the end of the decade, that initial figure is expected to grow to 134 million tonnes annually.
For an industry still hooked on fast fashion, the problem of waste is not going anywhere, and it will require a colossal and combined effort if even a dent is to be made in this figure.
I sound negative but efforts are being made, and on an increasing scale. And Europe appears to be at the forefront of efforts.
Non-profit Accelerating Circularly last week launched cellulosic textile-to-textile trials as part of its mission to catalyse new supply chains and business models to turn spent textiles into mainstream raw materials.
While, fast fashion retailer Primark is trying to play its part by launching a series of durability and repair initiatives designed to ensure the longevity of clothes. The initiative forms parts of efforts by the group to change its design process to ensure its clothes can be recycled at the end of their life to help reduce waste.
In major garment-producing country Bangladesh, the industry is keen to ensure it is playing its part. The sector has a vision to reuse pre-consumer fabric waste and is in discussions with the government to move towards a circular economy.
It certainly feels like progress is being made but it also feels like there is a mountain of textile waste to climb before the industry reaches its summit. Educating consumers will be key, as will collaboration, and investment in new technology. In a decade I would love to be writing about this issue again and informing you all that the industry didn’t get anywhere near the 134 million tonnes mark. The onus is on everyone to ensure that happens.
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