Recent months have brought higher-than-normal collection volumes, but quality is declining owing to the combination of ‘fast fashion’ and ‘an increasing awareness from consumers that textiles can be recycled, observed Martin Böschen of Switzerland-based TEXAID Textilverwertungs AG at the BIR convention in Singapore.
Given that collection and sorting of used textiles are financed by the resale of second-hand goods, the key question is who will pay for this service if quality and share of second-hand goods continue to decline, he said. The new president of the BIR textiles division called for the textiles and fashion industry to embrace design for recycling and to commit to using secondary raw materials ‘even if they are more expensive than virgin materials’.
Böschen pointed to payment problems among the used textiles customer base in Africa. And he also noted: ‘Demand from Eastern Europe and other markets is still intact, but customers’ demands in regard to product quality are increasing.’
According to Alan Wheeler of the UK’s Textile Recycling Association, a recently-released document from the country’s Environment Audit Committee (EAC) has been described as ‘a game-changer’ for the global fashion industry. The “Fixing Fashion” publication proposes that fashion retailers ‘take responsibility for the waste they create by introducing an extended producer responsibility scheme for textiles and reward companies that take positive action to reduce waste’.
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