An urgent issue every fashion designer must confront
March 18th was Global Recycling Day, highlighting the challenge of waste recycling, which is deeply connected to the fashion industry. As a matter of fact, recycling is crucial for a circular economy and circular fashion too.
These international days aim to raise awareness on important matters. Unfortunately, we celebrate something but tend to forget the issue the day after.
Fashion industry & waste
As widely highlighted in our previous posts, the fashion industry is part of the waste problem. According to Earth.org, of the 100 billion garments produced each year, 92 million tons end up in landfills. To give a prompt idea, this means that the equivalent of a rubbish truck full of clothes ends up in landfill sites every second.
Waste is a global issue. In fact, that is the byproduct of our economic system – capitalism. A structure based on overproduction and exploitation. However, the civilised global north found a way to get rid of it. Because we don’t want to see our garbage. Also, in front of problems, we prefer to close our eyes.
So, how does the global north get rid of waste? By dumping the problem in the global south! In case you missed the news, please, read what happens in the Atacama desert in Chile. Or in Ghana, Africa.
As we can see, Northern countries, the rich and civilised ones, are still perpetuating colonialism. Specifically, waste colonialism.
“Global Recycling Foundation” promotes the idea of considering waste as an opportunity:
“Every year, the Earth yields billions of tons of natural resources and at some point, in the not too distant future, it will run out.
That’s why we must think again about what we throw away – seeing not waste, but opportunity.”
Waste recycling in fashion industry
First, in order to reduce waste, we need to consume less, much less! But also, we must find solutions for the tons of discarded clothing already shipped to Africa and Chile.
Most importantly, we expect every fashion designer and every company to do their bit and hold themselves accountable. Recycling and upcycling must become part of the plan for the fashion industry. Now!
There’s no time to waste!