May 20, 2024


Let your Fashion

Commentary: Why can’t the fashion industry recycle discarded clothes?


SYDNEY: Today, we make more apparel than ever before. And the driver for this is primarily financial, relatively than human have to have. Around the past 10 years, the expression “circular economy” has entered the style marketplace lexicon, wherever elements are produced to be reused and recycled by design.

Yet we have not found the same level of recycling in manner as we have in other areas – this sort of as with plastic recycling, for instance. And this is generally because garments-to-clothing recycling is substantially a lot more tricky.

The use of recycled polyester and cotton by manufacturers, these as H&M and Cotton On, are key elements of these companies’ sustainability initiatives – but the source of these recycled fibres ordinarily isn’t clothes. Recycled polyester tends to appear from plastic bottles, and recycled cotton is normally designed from production squander.

The fact is that most outfits is merely not created to be recycled. Even when it is, the manner industry lacks the variety of infrastructure desired to genuinely embrace a round economic system design.


Recycling apparel is not like recycling paper, glass or metallic. Outfits are endlessly variable and unpredictable. So they’re not great for recycling technologies, which call for continuous and steady source materials.

Even a seemingly basic garment may well comprise various products, with fibre blends these types of as cotton/polyester and cotton/elastane remaining typical.

Unique fibres have diverse capacities for recycling. All-natural fibres, these types of as wool or cotton, can be recycled mechanically. In this process, the fabric is shredded and re-spun into yarn, from which new material can be woven or knitted.


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