Innovation is woven into the fabric of the fashion industry, giving it a tremendous advantage over staid industrial actors in navigating the shift to a circular economy.

Circular systems need circular feedstocks. Less than 1 per cent of current textiles are estimated to be recycled into new textiles with most countries lacking robust collection systems. Yet we know from paper, glass and aluminium that high collection rates are possible when systems are in place. Governments, brands and producers can all help enable collection and supply of recycled textiles. An increasing number of brands have in-store collection and closed loop supply agreements. Recycling just one-quarter of global pre-consumer and post-consumer cotton and viscose textile waste could replace ‘all’ virgin tree fibre currently used to manufacture MMCF.

Brands are well familiar with the need to ensure that textiles and clothing are fit for circularity. Offering services (like instore repair) and business models that reduce the overall consumption of clothing will accompany efforts to boost the sorting, re-use and recycling of textiles.

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