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Collaboration can scale up textile recycling

Nov 24, 2021
Collaboration can scale up textile recycling

Copenhagen, Denmark

Post COP26, Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), the leading non-profit for industry collaboration on sustainable fashion published the Scaling Circularity report, that reveals the requirements to scale circular fashion systems.

The report, written with GFA's Strategic Knowledge Partner, McKinsey & Company, concludes that the fashion industry could become 80% circular by 2030 if there is increased investment in existing recycling technologies and infrastructures. It demonstrates that pre-competitive collaborations can play a critical role in accelerating the industry's transition to sustainable and inclusive growth, focusing on the case study of textile recycling.

The findings are based on independent analysis and learnings from the Circular Fashion Partnership in Bangladesh – a cross-sectoral project to scale post-industrial recycling and capture textile value domestically in Bangladesh – one of the largest garment producing countries in the world.

The research focuses on textile recycling and explains that major recycling technologies deliver better environmental outcomes across GHG emissions, water depletion and land use. Plus, all technologies have the potential to be more cost effective than using corresponding virgin materials if they are scaled.

Current technologies have the potential to deliver 75% textile-to-textile recycling into the fashion system, and a further 5% recycled feedstock from other industries. To deliver this scenario, the sector requires at least 5-7bn capital investment in recycling technologies by 2026, as well as further mobilisation of capital towards collection and sorting infrastructure.

The research indicates the business case for investing in recycling infrastructure is attractive if there is greater transparency of the demand for recycled materials and the consistent supply of traceable high-quality feedstock. Through convening influential players throughout the fashion value cycle, developing traceability of waste streams and aligning on mutual incentives, pre-competitive collaborations play a unique role in assuring supply, demand and attracting commercial investment where it is needed at pace. The Circular Fashion Partnership demonstrates this.

Federica Marchionni, CEO, Global Fashion Agenda, said that, the research proves that the necessary recycling technologies exist, deliver huge improvements in environmental impact and that the economics work at scale. The challenge is providing conditions for scaling. With sufficient investment, supportive policies, and by enabling pre-competitive collaborations, I am optimistic that we can create a profitable circular system and accelerate fashion's journey to net zero."

The report presents learnings from the Circular Fashion Partnership in Bangladesh. Since its launch in October 2020, the partnership used the Reverse Resources SaaS platform to map and trace over 1000 tonnes of textile waste in Bangladesh.  The analysis showcases the strong case for scaling this model to other markets including Vietnam, Turkey, India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh, claiming there is a 4.5 billion USD opportunity.

Source: CISION PR Newswire

Image Source: Google Images

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