Recycled Clothes – Reusing Textile Waste in Fashion
With most developed countries around the world turning their attention to green issues in an effort to reduce carbon emissions and landfill, many industries are coming under pressure to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into their operations.
From industrial companies to offices, there is a growing collective consciousness nationwide to make a concerted effort to recycle, travel by foot, bike or public transport more, reuse items where possible and generally be more considerate when it comes to the environment.
One of the latest industries to get on board with this is fashion world, which has seen a recent push for the reuse of textiles that would previously have gone to waste.
Current statistics suggest that over 1 million tonnes of clothing textiles are disposed of each year in the UK, with only a quarter of this amount being processed for reuse or recycling.
This is obviously a major issue, especially when you consider that the textile industry is regarded as one of the most polluting when it comes to the global environmental. For example, it’s estimated that 8,500 litres of water are required to grow just 1kg of cotton – not to mention the fertilisers and pesticides that are also used in the process – and the reckless abandonment of clothing once it is no longer wanted is responsible for increased production of this environmentally taxing material.
Some experts have apportioned the majority of the blame on the rise of the affordable fashion market, with chains such as H&M, Primark, Zara and more mass-producing garments at prices that make buying new clothes as cheap as picking up bargains in the local charity shop.
Many cheaper items of clothing are made from non-recyclable, petroleum-based fabrics like polyester, which means that reuse is the only way in which they won’t become landfill waste. The production of these clothes also has a negative effect, with the pollution caused from manufacturing, dying and transportation increased with greater demand.
Recycling and Recovering Textiles
The green benefits of reusing textiles are untold; from reducing the amount of non-compostable materials ending up in landfill to putting less of a strain on the natural resources needed to make them, and steps are being taken to encourage people to do so.
With certain manufacturers promoting the use of recycled fibres and reusable fabrics in their clothes, and some even making items from out of other previously non-recyclable materials (plastic drinks bottles have been used in garments from everyone from M&S to Armani), it is now the job of the consumer to do their part.
Ensuring that any clothes you throw away go to a charity shop or clothing bank will make a big difference, while taking excess textile offcuts and creating new items from them (or customising existing clothes) also helps to reduce landfill and over-production.
For more information about how you can best reuse your clothing and other textiles after you no longer need them, organisations such as Euratex provide advice and assistance, as well as ways in which you can get involved with this issue on a bigger scale.