News: Clothing should be part of the circular economy
Read Alan Wheeler's excellent piece in Recycling & Waste World
Wednesday, 17th May 2017
Writing for Monday's Recycling & Waste World, Alan Wheeler cites research estimating that just over one third of the 680 million items of clothing thrown out by the UK public this season will end up in landfill, and that over half of Americans throw out old clothing rather than donating it.
As he says in the article: "The huge environmental impacts of the apparel industry are well-documented... the current global clothing supply chain is unsustainable and we need to do a lot better."
He points out that "If we were in a truly circular economy, we could start anywhere," but because the current economy is linear we need to start "at the point of production." The problem is, as he says: "...lack of transparency in the production phase of a garment is a major barrier to achieving circularity."
Furthermore, Alan would like to see a "concerted effort to switch to more sustainable fibres" and more development of "technologies and techniques to enable more fibre recycling to take place," and we at Uniform Reuse agree. We also agree that, though re-use and recycling markets are improving, the fact that the outputs are usually themselves "single-use applications that are still part of a linear economy" doesn't solve the bigger picture.
"The current system places no responsibility on those in the clothing/textile supply chain ... for addressing the problems they are creating," says Alan, and he concludes: "this needs to change." We welcome his plea for support for those that help to deliver this required change.
For the full text of Alan Wheeler's article, click on the link below
WRAP report on environmental impact of UK clothing industry
WRAP's recent report "Valuing Our Clothes: the cost of UK fashion" highlights recent achievements in the clothing sector, looks at business opportunities, and gives an insight into consumer behaviour when it comes to buying and wearing clothing.