Image Source: Earthlysmart
Pictures of clothing piled up in landfills have been circulating frequently these past couple of years. The equivalent to a full garbage truck of clothes ends up on landfill sites every single second of the year. This isn’t shocking considering that 85% of all textiles that are thrown away are either dumped or burned.
One of the major problems is that clothing uses mostly non-renewable resources (including petroleum) to produce clothes that are mostly used for a relatively short period of time.
As it stands today, only 12% of the material used for clothing ends up being recycled.
What the heck? Why is it so hard to recycle?
According to BBC, most of our clothes are made from complex combinations of fibers and yarn blends that are both natural and synthetic. This alone makes most garments pretty impossible to separate and sort in order to be effectively recycled. Not to mention the toxic dyes.
Ugh. So what’s a fashion company to do?
Design with circularity in mind. Meaning that you design clothing using materials that have previously had a life (vs. raw materials) and also, so that they can turn into something else afterwards.
Image Source: Common Objective
Is it possible?
Apparently it is for Tommy Hilfiger. They’ve launched the “Make It Possible” initiative which aims for 100% circular fashion design by 2030. This means that all of their synthetic materials (nylon, spandex, polyester) will come from recycled sources. Their natural materials will come from regenerative systems, meaning that they will contribute to systems that renew or replenish themselves and be capable of returning to biological or technical loops.
Image Source: John Taggart for the New York Times
And they’re definitely working on it.
80% of their designers have been fully trained in circular fashion design strategy. They were the first fashion brand to achieve 100% recycled cotton fabric at an industrial scale for denim jeans, using leftover scraps from cutting tables and factory floors in their 2019 spring line.
According to TH himself,
“While we’re not there yet, we are going to get there.”
Let’s follow along to see how things progress. Who knows, maybe their innovation could lead to widespread industry norm over time. A girl can dream, right?
with love for the planet,