ABC’s War on Waste

In the third episode of ABC’s “War on Waste,” Craig Reucassel explored the impact that fast fashion has on our environment. Footage of the recycling facility featured a The Smith Family charitable recycling facility. The episode can be seen on ABC IVIEW here.

“War on Waste,” on fast fashion:

  • As a nation, we spend around 5 billion dollars a year on fashion
  • 1/2 million tonne of it ends up in landfill anually
  • This is equal to 600kg thrown away every 10 minutes
  • …. or in 12 months, it fills the MCG 2 and a half times
  • It takes around 2,700 litres of water to make the average cotton t-shirt
  • The average person spends $2,000 a year on fashion
  • 3/5ths of that is trashed within a year of purchase.

On The Smith Family, as one of the largest collectors of donated clothing, one of their largest facilities gave the following stats.

  • They sort 13 million kilos of donated clothing a year
  • 3 to 4% they sell in their stores
  • 60% are exported
  • 5 to 10% are only good enough for rags
  • 30% goes to waste and it costs The Smith Family 1 MILLION DOLLARS PER YEAR TO DUMP THEM.
  • If it’s not good enough to wear again, DO NOT DONATE IT. That’s an absolutely disgraceful amount of money for a charity to have to spend to dump rubbish.

Note: The Smith Family recycling model is one of many different models. Please refer to Fast Facts at this link for additional data on the charitable recycling sector.