Clothing piling up in the trash

Updated: Apr 9, 2020


From the Guardian 2014
Give old clothes a second chance


Decades back, clothes were rather treasured due to the proportionate high cost of clothing and the materials used in them.

From there came the rising trend of using a mix of materials to make clothing items — the result of which had a vast supply of comparatively cheap clothing flooding the markets on a worldwide scale.

Well, we took a deep breath of relief, and though hey, we hit two birds with one stone – used clothing was turned into new clothes. Items of clothes are cheap, and many brand names stood at the front of the line, making it the focus of their business to provide clothing out of mixed fabrics and at reasonable pricing.

But as time passes, we are facing a problem of monumental proportions:

· Worn clothes are finding their way into landfills in colossal amounts.

· The use of mixed fibers means that recycling these items is difficult if not downright impossible.

· The technology needed to recycle mixed fibers is minuscule.

· Affordable prices landfill shoppers buy and discard clothing faster than ever.

· Clothes may be worn just a few times, and why not after all they can be easily replaced.

· Just about 1% of used garments are recycled whereas purchase has increased by 60%.

· The percentage showing how much an item of clothing has been worn before being discarded has dropped and even though a market is rising for used clothing

· Ultimately, the markets that took used clothing have discovered that that is affecting the production and pricing of new clothing adversely, as such, they are lessening their demand on used clothing.

· Even what we do recycle is made from plastic merely is not from used clothing.

Recycled clothing usually ends up as wiping cloths or insulation materials, and these take a short cycle then, eventually go where they had been destined - into the landfill – so it is no help to the problem.

Moving forward, there is more being done to deal with these issues:

· Those who are aware of the problem are beginning to shop for used clothing, even if that is perhaps a way to save money, still, a step in the right direction.

· New techniques are being used to recycle cotton clothing – India’s cotton story.

· Textile recycling research is gaining back up and that is from large companies as well as small.

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