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Textile Outlook International
Issue 139:
June 2009

Product Overview
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Reports in this issue
Editorial: Brazil's Textile and Clothing Industry Rides out the Storm--but for How Long? (4 pages)
Prospects for the Textile and Garment Industry in China (40 pages)
Survey of the European Yarn Fairs for Spring/Summer 2010 (13 pages)
International Comparison of Production Costs: Spinning, Texturing, Weaving and Knitting (28 pages)
Textiles and Clothing: Opportunities for Recycling
World Trade in Socks (16 pages)

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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
  • Summary
  • Introduction
  • 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
  • Textile Companies Involved in Recycling
  • Clothing Companies Involved in Recycling
  • Outlook

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Six times a year, Textile Outlook International provides up to 200 pages of intelligence, expert analysis and insight on the global textile and clothing industry.
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Each issue provides an authoritative source of information on key industry topics, including: circularity; cotton; environmental sustainability; fibre prices; innovation; production and consumption forecasts; imports and exports; industry giants and emerging brands; international trade fairs; key geographical markets; recommerce; retail; supply chains; textile and clothing trade; textile machinery; trade and production trends; world markets; and yarn and fabric manufacturing.

A single issue of Textile Outlook International includes:

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    a report on textile and apparel trade and production trends

    a round-up of the latest international trade fairs

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