The clothes recycling practices is no doubt a healthy and positive activity towards eco-friendly goal. The apparel and textile industry is no doubt one the biggest polluting industry after oil and gas industry. From spinning to final product finishing, each and every step is consuming too much water and synthetic harmonized chemicals. And these chemicals are not only contaminated our water but also affecting our natural environment as well. It is estimated that 20 thousand tons of indigo are produced annually for the purpose of dyeing of denim jeans. Initially, this indigo dye was made from plants but now it is synthetically made. By the passage of time, this problem is getting sever and more intensive. So, today beside water and chemical issue, we are also facing a problem of wasted clothes. Which is a gift to our environment from the followers of fast fashion trends?
As per the research, approximately 450 million pairs of jeans are sold in US every year. And the study proved that a single American owns “07” pairs of blue jeans. Whereas, other research study revealed that an Americans spend approximately $2000 on apparels or wearing products every year. But the Manhattan people buying was double from other Americans which is $400 per person per month. As far as UK people are concern, they spend nearly $70 billion per year on clothing and footwear. The UK, Italy, Germany and Europe spend around $782 per year on clothing. On the other hand, China is big exporter of textile and garments with a world-wide market share of 54%. It produces and exports 60 million cotton garments and 90 million yards cotton fabric all over the world. And this figure is on upward trend on every passing year.
Clothes Recycling Concept:
Keeping in view the above situation, where the water, chemicals and dyes consumption are already uncontrollable. And now the sheer burden of wasted-clothes is also a big challenge for the environment. The only solution for all these uncontrollable issues is clothes recycling. Through clothes recycling, we can save water, avoid pollutions of chemicals and wasted clothes as well. Although clothes recycling concept is not new for us yet even today we are not practicing it on a mass level. Accordingly to U.S. EPA 2016 report, around 16.2m tons of textile waste was generated in 2014 and out of which 2.62m tons were recycled. And most of the portion (10.46m tons) of waste was sent to landfill. As per recent research study, the single US person generates 82 pounds of textile waste per year. And out of this 82 pounds waste, only 15% is donated/recycled whereas 85% is sent to landfill.
Similarly, we heard about a lot about recycled fibre fabric. But the fact is that only 0.1% of recycled fiber took back into program and recycled into new fibre. If we analyze the annual environmental affect of houshold’s wasted clothes. Then it would be equal to 1000 water bath tubs and carbon emissions from driving of a car for 6000 miles. In UK, a research study was commissioned by Sainsbury and according to that around 235m items ended up on landfill in last spring. As people were planning to refill their wardrobes for summer’s clothes collections. Although in UK, the percentage of clothing throwing to landfill is 14% less than the previous year. As it is 3,00,000 tons instead of 3,50,000 tons. Even then there are lots of things which we need to do to enhance the practices for recycling in an ordinary consumer.
Clothes Recycling Efforts:
As per the above study results, the major portion of the wasted clothes went to landfill. And every cloth has different fabric composition and construction. So, its decomposition time is different due to its inner ingredients. So, dumping a different composition/construction of garments isn’t a good idea. Because, there are some synthetic materials which take more than 400 years for decomposing. So, as we discussed earlier, the best and ideal way is clothes recycling. And we can promote this approach by following way:
- First of all check your local council or charity organization which accepts textile or clothes for recycling. If you find the same then it’s a good source to give away your useless clothes to them. Because these are the right people who can reuse these rejected clothes in a better way.
- Always try to find out your nearest clothes bank in supermarkets, car parking. As these are nearest and convenient way through which, you can drop your useless garments for clothes recycling or reuse.
- There are so many places where you can even sale your old clothes and get cash. I think this option is a best from other above alternatives. As you can not only do something for your planet along with that you can also earn something for your new clothes too : ). You can even sell the useless clothes through online retailers like Ebay, Kijiji etc.
- There are number of charities or community group of people who earn money through recycling goods selling. And this money they invest into another community welfare projects. So, the recycling business is also taking a healthy contribution into the welfare of mankind.
Textile & Clothes Recycling Potential:
In some products, if a clothes recycling is not possible then that product can be recycled into fabric, wiping cloths, auto insulation, carpet pads, etc. In short, the awareness of the clothes recycling is increasing due to eco-friendly approach and landfill pressure. So, we have to take this thing very seriously that how we could educate our surroundings about clothes recycling benefits. There are only 500 – 550 recycling companies in US which are owned and operated by small family businesses. Although, the United States textile recycling industry is also recycling fewer quantity (approximate 2.5 billion pounds) of textile waste. But this quantity is just a drop in an ocean. And the similar insufficient situation we are also experiencing in UK market as well. As the research study says that almost 100% textiles and clothes recycling are possible.
So, in order to have a sustainable lifestyle, everyone from us should take part in recycling practices process. In our other environmental issues due to apparel fashion and textile, we blamed manufacturers, importers and sellers. Whereas, this problem has direct relation with consumer and mostly the consumers are the main culprits for this massive issue. Because, if they realize their responsibilities then the half of the issues can control in an effective way. For the rest issue, we need to emphasize on the clothes recycling industries both in Government and private level.
As per the above analysis, there is an immense need of such industry in almost all countries. As the supply of useless clothes is too much, whereas the clothes recycling units are just like a drop in an ocean. This is why most of the quantity of this waste has to send for landfill. As a dumpling clothes is not an intelligent solution, on the other hand it should be consider as environmental crime. Because we are burying poison in shape of synthetic fabric clothing. The percentage of clothes recycling should be enhanced so that we could fulfill our dream of green world.