In German private households, about 1.3 million tonnes of clothing end up in the rubbish every year. At least some of this is turned into cleaning rags (down cycling). Between 40 and 50 % is profitably sent to Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. The rest is incinerated.
In Australia, according to The Guardian, 227,000 tonnes of clothing are thrown away every year.
There are many approaches to recycling clothing. Ideally, it is designed to be recyclable from conception to end of life, so that there is virtually no waste. Recycling of and repairs to textiles are other variations on how waste can be avoided. Another option is the compostability of textiles, which can be thought of in terms of circularity.
So far, there is no worldwide standard for the composting of textiles. This is now to change, specifically in Australia.
Our long-time customer Stephanie Devine from the lingerie label The Very Good Bra (link) developed the world's first compostable bra a few years ago, made from our elastic bands, among other things. When it came to professional disposal, namely composting, Stephanie discovered that there was no public way to have the bra officially turned into humus at the end of its life. So she teamed up with experts from science, research and business and came up with a proposal for Standards Australia: to develop "a technical specification for compostable textiles". This idea is now to be put into practice.
If this succeeds, it would be a milestone in the textile industry. Because then clothing that is to be compostable would have to be completely redesigned: namely plastic-free, without harmful coatings and other impurities. That would be a big lever in terms of real responsibility that the producing textile industry would have to take on.
We keep our fingers crossed and wish them every success in making it happen.
This way to the full article in The Guardian.
Stephanie has launched a crowdfunding campaign in which she introduces the world's first plastic-free nursing bra (see article photo). The idea is brilliant and has been longed for. The downer is that the item is unfortunately not yet available in Europe.