Charitable Recycling Australia advocates for a National Textiles Reuse Policy. Clothing textiles represent a valuable resource in Australia’s economy, but the vast majority is generated outside of the charitable reuse and recycling sector and subsequently ends up in landfill.
The National Waste Report 2017-18 highlights that Australia has very low resource recovery rates of just 12%. This is in stark contrast to the textile recovery rates achieved by charitable reuse and recycling enterprises, which hover between 80% – 90%.
With the fashion industry beginning to embrace sustainable solutions and consumers starting to demand that brands and retailers consider environmental impacts, we believe our governments could act decisively to get more textiles out of landfill, extend the life cycles of textile products and design these goods with circularity principles top of mind.
Specifically, we advocate for a multi-sector collaboration between commercial textile manufacturers, fashion brands and clothing retailers, charitable reuse and recycling enterprises and state governments.
The focus of this collaboration will be designing a National Textiles Reuse Policy that articulates strategies for:
- diverting textile waste from landfill
- promoting reuse and encouraging consumers to donate to and shop at charity and social enterprise retailers
- exploring commercially viable recycling technology, offshore processing and the use of renewable fibres in garment design
*Note: This submission was written prior to the rebrand of Charitable Recycling Australia. As a result, we are referred to as The National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations throughout. Additionally, new data has emerged since this position was published, showing that illegal dumping and unusable donations result in 80, 000 tonnes being sent to landfill every year.