February 29, 2024


Fashion come on you

Commentary: Why can’t the fashion industry recycle discarded clothes?

SYDNEY: Right now, we make far more garments than at any time ahead of. And the driver for this is mostly economic, somewhat than human have to have. In excess of the past decade, the time period “circular economy” has entered the vogue field lexicon, wherever products are manufactured to be reused and recycled by design.

Nevertheless we haven’t viewed the same degree of recycling in manner as we have in other areas – this sort of as with plastic recycling, for occasion. And this is mainly simply because garments-to-clothes recycling is considerably extra challenging.

The use of recycled polyester and cotton by brand names, these types of as H&M and Cotton On, are vital factors of these companies’ sustainability initiatives – but the supply of these recycled fibres generally isn’t clothes. Recycled polyester tends to come from plastic bottles, and recycled cotton is usually built from producing squander.

The point is that most garments is just not developed to be recycled. Even when it is, the vogue industry lacks the form of infrastructure wanted to seriously embrace a round overall economy design.


Recycling apparel is not like recycling paper, glass or steel. Clothes are endlessly variable and unpredictable. So they are not best for recycling systems, which need constant and regular supply resources.

Even a seemingly very simple garment may perhaps incorporate various products, with fibre blends this sort of as cotton/polyester and cotton/elastane currently being popular.

Diverse fibres have unique capacities for recycling. All-natural fibres, this sort of as wool or cotton, can be recycled mechanically. In this system, the cloth is shredded and re-spun into yarn, from which new material can be woven or knitted.