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Textiles and Clothing: Opportunities for Recycling
published in Issue 139, June 2009
Recycling in the textile and clothing sector can take several forms. The best known method involves the manufacture of a textile or clothing product from recycled consumer waste—such as plastic bottles or waste polyester yarns or fabrics. Other forms involve the reuse of waste textile and clothing products in a way which avoids throwing the items away, such as: shredding the products into fibres for sound insulation; redistributing the items in the form of secondhand clothing via charity shops or textile merchants (also known as rag collectors); and reusing fabrics for “eco-fashion”.
Recycling in the textile and clothing industry offers companies important benefits, particularly from an environmental viewpoint. However, only a handful of prominent international textile and clothing companies are heavily involved in recycling. Examples of these firms are: USA-based Jimtex Yarns, a producer of recycled eco-friendly fibres and yarns and part of USA-based Martex Fiber Southern Corporation; Japan-based Teijin Fibers; USA-based Unifi, which is the owner of the Repreve brand of yarns made from 100% recycled materials; the USA-based clothing producer American Apparel; the UK-based clothing retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S); the USA-based outdoor clothing producer Patagonia; the USA-based fleece fabric maker Polartec; the Japan-based clothing retailer Uniqlo; and the USA-based retailer Wal-Mart.
To encourage recycling in the EU, new legislation came into force on December 12, 2008, in the form of a revised Waste Framework Directive (WFD). The revised directive, which aims to make it easier for EU citizens and corporations to recycle, has nominated textiles as a “priority waste stream” because the recycling of textiles is deemed to bring with it significant environmental and economic benefits. The next step for the EU is to decide upon an EU-wide definition of the exact stage of the refuse process at which discarded textile products cease to become waste and, instead, become materials to be recycled.
Companies which are interested in getting more involved in textile and clothing recycling can take comfort from the fact that textile recycling is well supported commercially by numerous industry associations—and politically by government initiatives in many of the world’s largest economies.
In addition, there are plenty of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) involved in textile recycling, such as UK-based Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development (TRAID) and the Goonj project in India.
Table of Contents
Textiles and Clothing: Opportunities for Recycling
Methods of Recycling in the Textile and Clothing Sector
Recycling Activity in Selected National Textile and Clothing Industries
Legislation Affecting Textile Recycling
Textile Recycling Associations
Selected Government Initiatives to Encourage Textile Recycling
Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) Involved in Textile Recycling
Six times a year, Textile Outlook International provides up to 200 pages of expert comment and analysis. A subscription provides an overview of the global fibre, textile and apparel industries. It is essential reading for senior executives in the fibre, textile and apparel industries – and for anyone who is not involved in the industry, but needs to quickly gain an understanding of the key issues.
Reports in Textile Outlook International include:
country profiles – providing a comprehensive guide to the textile and clothing industries in a range of countries and regions. The reports include an economic and political profile together with a comprehensive overview of the main issues, plus an outlook for the future.
company profiles – giving you the opportunity to learn from strategies employed by others. Companies profiled recently include retailers, manufacturers, innovators and sourcing companies involved in textiles and apparel as well as smaller companies which illustrate the opportunities for firms which are interested in selected sourcing locations.
trends in world textile and apparel trade and production – taking into account current issues facing the industry – such as global fibre prices; competition from China and other low cost countries; the elimination of quotas and imposition of selective new ones; relocation of production operations; the impact of economic factors affecting trade; international trade agreements; trade promotion agreements (TPAs); and much more.
trends in EU and US imports of textiles and clothing – providing comprehensive statistical data and analysis of the top ten supplying countries to the EU and US markets. These reports are updated each year and contain value and volume data as well as average prices and analyses of trends for up to 15 product categories.
innovations, technological developments, business development opportunities, individual sector analysis and political implications which affect players in the global fibre, textile and apparel industries. Some of the topics which have been covered in recent reports include: new innovations in the textile and clothing industry, such as environmentally friendly textiles, plant based fibres, and developments in textile colorants; innovations in textile machinery; and overviews of the European swimwear, hosiery and lingerie markets.
So whether you are involved in fibres, textiles or clothing – in manufacturing, spinning, weaving, knitting, sewing, import/export, retailing – or if you are in education or consultancy or investment or finance, a subscription to Textile Outlook International will tell you what you need to know about the key trends in the industry.
Textile Outlook International is available on subscription – either in printed format only, or in printed and electronic format. If you choose the printed only option, you will receive 6 printed publications a year, containing a total of 30 reports plus editorials written by Robin Anson, our editorial director and in-house industry expert.
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