Ahead of Global Recycling Day on 18 March, the designers who showcased their designs made from recycled textiles at London Fashion Week were greeted by the Global Recycling Foundation. As sustainability is gaining importance hence to minimize the impact on the environment, the designers are embracing calls for more brands to re-think their designs.
As per the estimation made by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, new textile production is a major contributor to climate change and the fashion industry accounts for 10% of global carbon emissions – more than the aviation and maritime industries combined.
The forward-thinking designers are incorporating recycled textiles into their collections. In this year’s digital London Fashion week, one of such brands which showcased clothing made from recycled textiles is Bethany Williams. Working along with local manufacturers and social projects, each garment from their collection is manufactured in the UK and is made using recycled and organic materials.
Designer Bethany Williams said that within the UK, the waste stream researching and exploring to discover how different materials can be innovatively recycled into something that fills them with joy. Designing is a part of problem-solving which enables one to find how a product, material, or garment which has been used to serve its original purpose, can be given a second life and reused.
The same belief can be seen in collections of N Palmer which is a brand launched in summer 2020, which uses innovative textile techniques and contemporary design to explore repurpose vintage fabrics. Owner Nicholas Palmer said that 2021 is all about the waste and pollution which the fashion industry has already created. In the present time, it would have been too self-indulgent to create things without taking into consideration the product’s entire life cycle, hence he couldn't stop himself from incorporating recycling/upcycling solutions into his brand.
One of the oldest and most established sustainable industries is textile reuse and recycling which consists of a higher percentage of re-use i.e. 50% to 60% than most other waste streams.
The president of the Textile Branch of the European Recycling Industries Confederation (EuRIC) Mariska Zandvliet said that considering the point of view of the textile industry along with keeping in mind the waste hierarchy, one of the essential and important things which should come before recycling is re-use. She points out that in the current time the amount of post-consumer textile which is recycled into fibers and used in new clothing is less than 1%. At the end of life, the designs which contain multiple layers and mixed materials make it very difficult while separating the fibers for recycling. Because of which mechanical recycling is used which shortens the length of the fibers and makes them unfit to be used again without adding virgin material.
She adds that new business models will rise by creating the demand for recycled fibers, co-operation, innovative recycling techniques, and eco-design which will allow the textile chain to become circular. One of such innovations is using polyester made from recycled plastic water bottles which are possible because both polyester and plastic bottles are made from PET.
Founding President of the Global Recycling Foundation Ranjit Baxi said that they applaud their heroes' innovative recycling practices and report them to their supporters all over the world every year. He hopes that designers will be nominated for its #RecyclingHeroes competition to mark Global Recycling Day. The nominations for the award should be sent to [email protected] – by 8 March.
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