Australian Government announces roundtable to tackle textile waste

The Australian Government is aiming to tackle the 800,000 tonnes of clothing and textiles discarded by Australians each year head on, announcing a $350,000 investment in the Australasian Circular Textile Association.

And, according to the Minister for the Environment Susan Ley, the government will host a national roundtable on the issue – bringing together representatives of retail, fashion, charity, production, research and waste management to curb the dumping of textiles.

“We all have to wear clothes but we are buying them at such a rate that we don’t know what to do with them when they are too old. too worn, or simply out of fashion,” Ley said.

“According to the ACTA, parents who have just been purchasing school uniforms and trades getting ready for the year ahead will contribute 12,000 tonnes of branded uniforms alone to landfill in the next 12 months.”

Kmart was the first retailer to put its hand up in support of the roundtable, alongside the Australian Fashion Council.

The ACTA’s new initiative, Circular Threads, will investigate new technologies that will be used to separate and repurpose fabrics from used clothes, and create remanufacturing opportunities.

ACTA founder and CEO Camille Reed said the problem required a long-term solution, and for efforts to go even further to create a circular model.

“We need an industry led approach to find the ways we can break down clothing elements and re-use individual components and the fabrics themselves,” Reed said.

“There are some key technologies around the corner in terms of breaking down cotton and polyester blends and we need to be in a position to make the most of those opportunities.”

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