Did you know, textiles increased in the municipal solid waste stream by a staggering 78% between 2000 and 2017? That is more than double the growth of any other major waste category. During the same time, textile diversion rates remained stagnant at 16%.
A majority of this unprecedented growth in textile waste is driven by fast fashion and consumer behavior. Fashion cycles – from catwalk to retailer – move at lightning speed with multiple cycles per year. Add on the fact that our culture is steeped in rapid consumerism and you end up with disposable clothing.
Evolving Waste Stream
The good news is that per capita waste generation, on a mass basis, has decreased compared to 2000. However, two waste streams with some of the lowest overall recovery rates show the highest increases in per capita generation rates since 2000: textiles (15.5% recovery rate) and plastics (8.3% recovery rate). Clearly, we still have work to do if we are to build a bridge to the circular economy in the U.S.
Textile and Apparel Flows in the U.S.
Thicker Line = Larger Volume
Green = Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose; Red = Incineration; Gray = Landfill
RRS is working with designers, brands, retailers, haulers, municipalities, mechanical and chemical recyclers, advanced recycling technologies, collaborative initiatives, and trade/industry groups. We’re trying to affect change in textile recovery. Below are some of our services related to understanding and improving textile recycling.
|Textile Waste Audits & Fiber Characterization Studies||Fiber-to-fiber End Market Development|
|Waste Flow Evaluations & Waste Mapping||Sourcing Studies & Feedstock Analyses|
|Textile MRF Design||Economic Feasibility Analyses & Cost Modeling|
|Sorting Equipment & Sort Testing||Value Proposition & Opportunity Statement Development|
|Bale Specification Development||Communications, Outreach & Training|
This list is not all inclusive, our research and planning is customized to each client.
Connect with us today to discuss how RRS can help you improve textile recovery.
Links to RRS textile recovery information/resources:
- Webinar Recording: Textile Recovery: Taking Action to Create Circularity
- White Paper: Textile Recovery in the U.S.: A Roadmap to Circularity
- Fact Sheet: Textile Waste
- Blog: Measuring Textile Reuse
- Blog: Let’s Talk Textile Waste
- Recorded Webinar: A Rising Tide of Apparel and Textile Waste – What Brands are Doing and is it Enough?
- Recorded Webinar: The Cost & Environmental Impact of U.S. Textile & Apparel Waste
- Recorded Webinar: How U.S. Textile Recovery Works & Emerging Innovations in Sortation Technologies
- Recorded Webinar: State & Municipal Views on Textile Waste in the U.S.
Links to industry articles/information:
- Unspun, Jul 12, 2021: Overconsumption & Waste in the Fashion Value Chain
- Popular Science, Jun 10, 2021: What Actually Happens to the Clothes You Donate Depends on Where You Live
- Waste Management World, Jun 25, 2020: Material Stocks for Textile Recycling Could Take Two Years to Return to Normal
- Bloomberg, Apr 29, 2020: At Overloaded Thrift Shops, Coronavirus is Wreaking Havoc
- WSJ via MorningStar, Apr 21, 2020: Unsold clothing Buries Retailers
- GreenBiz, Jan 22, 2020: Fashion’s Latest Trend? Why H&M, Other Big Brands are Investing in Garment Recycling
- MinnPost, Dec 4, 2019: Hennepin County Just Ended Its Textile Recycling Program. St. Paul May Be Next.
- WasteDive, Nov 12, 2019: Why Secondhand Markets are the True Circular Economies
- Eastman, Nov 5, 2019: Eastman to Recycle Discarded Carpet into New Materials
- EcoTextile News, Nov 4, 2019: US Textile Waste Bill to Prompt Textile Microfibre Action
- EcoTextile News, Oct 29, 2019: H&M to Launch First Clothing Rental Service
- PR Newswire, Oct 24, 2019: Eastman Joins Textile Exchange and Participates in Textile Sustainability Conference
- NY Times, Sep 3, 2019: How Fast Fashion is Destroying the Planet
- Walmart, Apr 10, 2019: 3 Ways We’re Reducing the Environmental Impacts of Your Favorite Textiles
- Environmental Leader, Mar 19, 2019: UN Unveils Alliance to Combat the ‘Destructive Practices of Fashion’
- Waste Advantage, Feb 1, 2019: Fashion Emergency – The Waste Crisis
- Ecotextile, Jan 29, 2019: EPR Shapes French Attitudes to Fashion
- Waste Advantage Magazine, Jan 19, 2019: Coventry, RI, Starting Textile Recycling Program
- UK Focuses on EPR for Textiles, 2018: Our Waste, Our Resources: A Strategy for England
- Sustainable Brands, Jun 6, 2018: New Report Reveals a Gap in the Clothing Reuse Loop
- Waste360, May 30, 2018: Early Efforts to Tackle Mounting Textile Waste (3-Part Series)
- BBC News, May 28, 2018: How the US and Rwanda have Fallen Out Over Second-Hand Clothes
- Sustainable Brands, Feb 13, 2018: Unilever, Savers Team Up to Tackle Clothing Waste
- Public Radio International, Dec 8, 2017: How Good is H&M’s clothing Recycling Program?
- The New York Times, Oct 12, 2017: For Dignity and Development, East Africa Curbs Used Clothes Imports
- EcoTextile, Sep 19, 2017: Greenpeace calls for fashion slowdown
- Business Insider Nordic, Sep 14, 2017: H&M’s charity arm has found a revolutionary way to recycle textiles – “The holy grail of circular fashion”
- Sustainable Brands, Sep 5, 2017: Good News, Bad News for Reducing Textile Industry Impacts
- Waste360, Aug 8, 2017: Rocky River, Ohio Partners with Simple Recycling for Textile Collection Services
- Sustainable Brands, Jul 24, 2017: New Circular Solutions Aim to Eliminate Waste from Kids’ Clothing
- AfricaNews, Jun 21, 2017: Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda Face U.S. Sanction After Used Clothes Ban
- GreenPeace International, May 8, 2017: After the Binge the Hangover, International Fashion Consumption Survey
- McKinsey & Company, Oct 2016: Style That’s Sustainable: A New Fast Fashion Formula