THE TRUTH ABOUT TEXTILES
UK’S FASHION INDUSTRY CONTRIBUTION TO THE ECONOMY £32.3BN IN 2017 WITH 800,000 JOBS
According to www.parliament.uk, our fashion consumption is causing a waste problem in the UK and other countries. The sector is becoming more resource efficient but it still operates on a linear model of ‘make, use, dispose’. We buy more clothes per person in the UK than any other country in Europe, five times what we bought in the 1980s. UK citizens discard around a million tonnes of textiles per year.’
On the other hand, the direct contribution of the UK fashion industry - including fashion suppliers and retailers as well as designers - to the UK economy was estimated at £32.3bn in 2017 according to data from Oxford Economics, the consultancy, published by the British Fashion Council. The wool trade once accounted for 80% of exports from the British Isles. Now the UK's Fashion industry is worth £26 billion and 800,000 jobs to the economy, making it the UK's largest creative industry, making it almost as big as the financial sector. (the Evening Standard ( https://www.standard.co.uk › fashion › uk-fashion-industry-32-billion-uk-ec...)
around three hundred thousand tonnes of clothing still end up in household bins every year with around 20% of this going to landfill and 80% incinerated. Clothing that enters the municipal waste stream generally becomes contaminated or damaged, losing its reuse or recycling value. www.parliament.uk
According to the Textile Recycling Association, around 650,000 tonnes of unwanted clothing is collected annually from charity shop donations, door-to-door charity collections, car park clothing banks, school collections, high street take-back schemes and kerbside collection. TRAID said that the UK’s 11,000 charity shops diverted over 330,000 tonnes of textiles from landfill in 2017 and helped reduce carbon emissions by millions of tonnes a year by reusing and recycling second-hand clothes. Of the volume collected, about 30% is sold in the UK. The majority of the remainder is exported for re-use either in Africa or Eastern Europe. ‘
However, the charity shops cannot solve the problem entirely. A percentage of unsold clothing from charity shops packed in bags and sold to wholesalers. This clothing is sold lately to countries in Asia, Africa and the rest of Europe.
Does the discussion above demonstrate that clothing consumption if supported by effective recycling can be viable? Yet there is a strong view that British fashion and clothing industry undermine development of clothing industries of other countries especially in third world countries. However, this is a social and ethical issue for everyone in the UK whether to reduce personal consumption and allow the economy to shrink but to give an opportunity for other countries to develop their national industries
Textile Recycling Association (TRA) states that door to door charity collections ‘help to address the serious environmental and social impacts of the global clothing supply chain’.
TRA agree that about 1.1 million tonnes of used textiles in the bin of which about 430,000 tonnes is good quality clothing and there is a need to increase re-use and recycling and decrease dumping to address these serious environmental and social issues and supporting door to door collections is just one way of helping the situation.
The door to door collections also benefit local authorities and the local tax payer.
‘All local authorities have been set legally binding recycling targets, which they have to achieve. By licensing all legitimate charitable door to door clothing collections, local authority recycling departments can use the data contained within returns submitted by the charity collectors and include this in their overall figures.
Furthermore, licensing of these collections makes direct financial sense for local taxpayers. They can make direct financial savings. Local Authorities have to pay a levy on all waste that they send to landfill. By diverting more textiles away from the waste stream these costs to the local authority are reduced.”
Charitable collections are also an invaluable source of funds for charities. Charities support of scientific research in health gives a great boost to its development.
Clothing collections also support employment opportunities in the UK.
See Giving Support Limited contribution to recycling in our RECYCLING STATEMENT
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