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80% of unwanted textiles in Australia's NSW end up in landfill in 2020

Jun '21
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Of almost 305,000 tonnes of textiles discarded in Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) last year, only 800 tonnes were recycled, according to a report prepared by the Australasian Circular Textile Association (ACTA) for the NSW Environment Protection Authority. About 240,000 tonnes—78.68 per cent—were sent to landfill, with the remaining 62,000 tonnes sent overseas by charities for reuse.

ACTA chief executive officer and founder Camille Reed said the research showed the problem had been underestimated.

"Rather than your 23, 27 kilos per person that has been used for the past several years, it's closer to 39, 41 kilos per person per capita of textile consumption," Reed said.

The figures include clothing and household items like bed linen, curtains and furnishings.

ACTA used the data to estimate that nearly a million tonnes of textiles were being consumed in Australia each year, and the issue was probably being under-reported.

Reed said consumers should invest in higher quality textiles that last longer to avoid waste. She said industry, government and consumers all had a part to play in tackling the problem.

She said consumers should invest in higher-priced items and garments, as well as research companies and brands or ask them for information about their processes.

"We know once we purchase higher-price goods, we usually keep them in our lives for a bit longer, rather than something that's cheap that we see as quite replaceable," she was quoted as saying by an Australian media outlet.

A large quantity of textiles is actually plastic waste—about 60 per cent of textiles are synthetic and then the remainder is organic.

A national summit is expected to be held later this year to develop a framework for a circular economy for clothing textiles.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)

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