Textiles recycling news round-up (28/03/2019)

With news on: Chris Carey’s Collections fire; West Sussex releases textile waste video; TRAID outlines results of textiles campaign; European organisation calls for ‘decisive’ textile measures

Chris Carey’s Collections hit by blaze

Fire crews remain on the scene this morning (28 March) of a blaze which occurred at a warehouse in Beckenham, Kent, run by Chris Carey’s Collections.

Fire crews have remained at the scene all night (picture: London fire brigade)

Crews were called at 08:21 yesterday morning to reports of a single storey warehouse on fire, with residents nearby warned to keep windows and doors shut.

The company has confirmed it is working with the relevant authorities and that all occupants of the building were evacuated safely. Around 30 people left the building before fire crews arrived.

Commenting on the blaze, station manager Lee Sparks said: “A large quantity of clothing is alight and the fire had spread to the roof of the building. Fire crews have been working hard to bring the fire under control but there are some deep seated pockets of fire so it is likely that they will remain at the scene for some time.

“We would ask people nearby to keep their windows and doors shut for the time being as there is still quite a lot of acrid smoke.”

Firefighters from Beckenham, Forest Hill, Woodside, West Norwood, Bromley Greenwich, Norbury, Clapham and Milwall Fire Stations have attended the scene. The cause of the fire is not known at this stage.

West Sussex releases textile waste video

West Sussex council has released a video highlighting the amount of textiles which are wasted in the borough every day.

Filmed with help of Chichester Free School, the video uses 100 kilograms of textiles to recreate a recycling logo.

The Tackling Textiles logo

Filmed from the sky using a drone, the film is aimed at encouraging residents to repair, reuse, or recycle instead of throwing textiles away.

The video can be watched online here.

Commenting on the video, Steve Read, West Sussex county council’s director of energy, waste and environment, said: “West Sussex residents threw away nearly 11,000 tonnes of unwanted clothes, towels, blankets or sheets into the general rubbish last year.

“Most of these items could have been saved from the general rubbish by repairing them, using them for a different purpose, or recycling them. Disposing of this amount of textiles cost the County Council a staggering £1.7 million last year alone.”

The West Sussex Waste Partnership has been running a campaign called Tackling Textiles to try and change this situation.

TRAID outlines results of textiles campaign

UK charity TRAID has revealed that a campaign it launched last year to encourage Londoners to donate old clothing has seen more than 200 tonnes donated.

A TRAID textile bank in Battersea, London

The charity launched its 23% campaign in September 2018, following research it conducted which showed that 23% of Londoners’ clothes are unworn, equivalent to 123 million items.

The campaign called on people in the capital to donate clothing by offering a free home collection, while encouraging people to drop clothes in its charity shops or textile banks across London.

Six months after its launch, the charity says that 221 tonnes of wearable clothes have been passed on, made up of 774,365 garments. And, according to Traid, this provides a carbon saving of 2,100 tonnes and a 353,600,000 litres water savings.

Commenting on the results, Andrea Speranza, head of campaigns at TRAID, commented:
“With global consumption projected to rise by 63% by 2030 from 62 million tonnes today to 102 million tonnes, it’s critical we end the linear fast fashion model of take, make, dispose, repeat.”

Ms Speranza added: ““To address this, we called on Londoners to put the clothes they no longer wear back into use. Thousands took part passing on an incredible 774,365 items of clothes so far. This simple but powerful action shows the hugely positive impacts we can have on the environment when we stop over-consuming clothes.”

European organisation calls for ‘decisive’ textile measures

Waste and pollution from the production of textiles and clothing have become critical global issues, according to a European environmental organisation.

Ecopreneur.eu – the European Sustainable Business Federation – has claimed that the current ‘linear’ model for clothing production and disposal is outdated and unsustainable.

As a result, the non-profit organisation has launched a report calling for decisive policy measures to create an enabling framework.

The organisation said it is time to move fashion towards a ‘circular’ model where clothes, textiles, and fibres are kept at their highest value during use so that they can re-enter the economy and avoid becoming waste.

This would be based on the following five pillars:

  • Innovation policies – research programmes with subsidies, investment tax and deduction,
  • Economic incentives – procurement, extended producer responsibility, VAT, and a tax shift to drive market demand.
  • Regulation – establishing and enforcing a common regulatory framework for transparency and traceability.
  • Trade policies – facilitating export of semi-finished products and sorted, reusable textile waste to producing countries
  • Voluntary actions – covenants, commitments and standards are encouraged to engage stakeholders, with legislation standing by in case of lacking results.

Manfred Mühlberger, president of Ecopreneur, said: “Ecopreneur recommends to further develop the optimal policy mix into a detailed strategy for the sector’s advocacy and communicate the messages and actions listed in this report in a concerted action.”

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