Fast fashion waste: a circular approach to textiles

fast fashion waste
© iStock/justhavealook

In the wake of criticism by MPs over the social and environmental impact of “fast fashion”, UK retail brands are searching for solutions to clothing waste.

Consumers in the UK are buying twice as many items of clothing as they did in 2009, 60 per cent of which make their way to incinerators or landfill within a year of purchase. 300,000 tonnes of clothes are sent to British landfills per year; and less than one per cent of the material used in clothing production around the world is recycled after use. The UK government’s Environmental Audit Committee is expected to issue its final report into sustainability in the fashion industry by the end of February 2019, after its interim report – published in January 2019 – raised concerns over clothing waste and disengagement on the part of certain retailers.

Globechain, a “reuse marketplace”, aims to address the problem of fashion waste sustainably and conveniently, by connecting retail bodies with charities, businesses and individuals to enable them to reuse and recycle used and unwanted clothing and fashion accoutrements. The company, which operates globally from its base in London, has already enabled its users to divert 5.1 million kilogrammes of goods away from landfills.

May Al-Karooni, founder and CEO of Globechain, said: “Imagine eBay, but better, as items are given for free. Not only do our members save on disposing of the items, but we also give them powerful social impact data so they know where and how their unwanted items will be reused. Many of our members don’t know what they spend on waste disposal, as they don’t collect the data, but they know it’s costly, so are delighted to see how much we help them save. Once a retail chain signs up to us in the UK, they often ask us to set up systems in other territories where they operate because we provide them with a valuable and practical solution that isn’t available elsewhere. Through the data we provide our retail members in return for their annual membership fee, they can prove they are contributing to the circular economy and creating positive social impact in the process. The circular economy is becoming core to a company’s reputation as well as investor and customer loyalty and future growth prospects.”

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