California introduces Act for responsible collection & recycling of textiles

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2023-03-02 17:10:52 – USA

California’s senator Josh Newman, has introduced a bill to establish a state-wide program for collecting and recycling textiles. The extended producer responsibility (EPR) program, which will improve recycling and promote reuse in the textile industry, will be implemented and funded by manufacturers of apparel and other textiles under Senate Bill 707.

Though many people are unaware, the textile and fashion sector currently contributes 10% of the global carbon dioxide output, according to senator Newman (D-Fullerton). The emergence of "quick fashion," which focuses on the promotion and selling of inexpensive, low-quality clothing that frequently goes out of style, poses a serious threat to the environment. With the use of an EPR strategy, SB 707 will involve business stakeholders as partners and stewards to develop an end-to-end framework that will reduce textile waste in California while fostering the viability of the secondhand clothing market.

The average American throws away more than 81 pounds of apparel annually, a 55% increase from 2000. Although worn clothing and other textiles are now recycled or reused in the US at a rate of just about 15%, 95% of the components frequently found in textiles are either reusable or recyclable.

The majority of clothing and textile fibers can be recycled and used to make new products, provided they are properly sorted and processed. In order to maximize the repair or recycling of textiles, including clothing, accessories, handbags, backpacks, draperies, shower curtains, furniture, upholstery, bedding, towels, napkins, and tablecloths, SB 707 will force producers to create end-to-end system.

As part of this program, thrift stores and clothing collectors—which have long provided an efficient second-hand market for textiles—will be used more as collection sites as well as being a part of an integrated system for sorting used textiles that cannot be reused or resold and ultimately recycling them.

Doug Kobold, executive director of California Product Stewardship Council, sponsor of SB 707, said that the fastest-increasing category and top material in California's household and commercial trash streams are textiles. As the materials can absorb, tangle, and ignite if mixed with plastic recycling systems, local governments confront expensive hurdles in expanding textile collection and sorting. Because companies continue to make things without a plan for what to do with them when they are no longer wearable, the cost burden of managing useless textiles has fallen on thrift stores, collectors, and second-hand markets. In order to manage used textiles and clothing, California continues to set the standard by holding producers responsible for organizing and paying for a continuous repair and recycling program.

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