THE HUNT FOR AN EASY WAY TO RECYCLE OLD CLOTHESJuly 24, 2022
Technologies that can recycle old clothes back into new ones have been touted as a holy-grail sustainability solution. Only when they begin to scale, does the industry will start facing new and trickier logistic challenges.
Recycling processes that can turn old clothes into valuable raw materials are beginning to scale, offering a handy solution to address the growing volumes of clothing waste.
Ever wondered where all your old clothes go? Well, you don’t need to wonder anymore, because apparel recycling and reuse companies are scaling up globally.
Here’s how it works:
Companies collect in-vogue pieces from charities and others who want to donate and take them for cleaning and turning them into raw materials for manufacturing new clothing.
Getting old clothes from consumers’ wardrobes into the hands of these recyclers is not just a costly and complicated process but might also pose a significant barrier to growth.
Trash into cash:
If you have old shirts, pants, or belts lying around in your closet, there’s an app that can turn them into cash. JustClothes is a reverse auction marketplace where users can buy and sell used clothing to reduce textile waste in the U.S. According to the EPA, more than 58 million tons of textiles are sent to landfills every year – nearly half of which could have been recycled. These clothes are worth money, provided they’re in good condition.
The second-hand clothing market is as big as it sounds. It’s worth 2.6 billion pounds a year. But despite the huge volume of clothes being collected by charities, only 15% of general waste textiles are recycled.
Moreover, as the global population rapidly approaches the coveted 7 billion mark, it’s clear that we need to come up with ways to use the available resources more efficiently. To fix both these issues of logistics & optimum resource utilisation, an exciting new start-up called SuperCircle has come up with a solution to make it cheaper and easier for consumers to recycle their clothes. It has launched a digital platform that can help brands track garments’ end of life easily.
Today many leading apparel manufacturers in India are aware of the necessity to bring down the volume of apparel waste. But there are only a few sustainable fabric manufacturers who make use of brand-backed take-back schemes. Through these schemes, apparel manufacturing companies can bring down the fraction of old clothes that become trash thereby pushing up the percentage that can get back into the system.
It’s high time to walk the talk!