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PCIAW® marks launch of Circular Textiles report

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On 15th June 2021, the PCIAW® was proud to celebrate the official launch of the first of its kind Circular Textiles for a Sustainable Future report during an exclusive webinar uniting industry experts.

Our panel of renowned speakers discussed the significance of the Circular Textiles report in educating the global professional clothing industry on how to effectively design-in circular principles to reuse and recycle end-of-life textiles in an ethical and sustainable manner. The momentous webinar received a tremendous outpouring of support and positive feedback from the textiles industry, with attendees from every corner of the globe.

We’d like to thank our panel of speakers: our very own Yvette Ashby, CEO of PCIAW®, and Editor Declan Osborn. We extend our gratitude to Tim Cross, Director at Project Plan B, Peter Ramsey, Campaign Manager for the Circular Economy at Business in the Community (BITC), Catherine Salvidge, Sustainable Textiles Sector Specialist at WRAP, Stanley Russell, Founder of APT Fabrics, and Jamie Hart, Regional Business Consultant at Avena Environmental.

The Circular Textiles report is a vital resource for the industry to adopt forward-thinking measures in reuse and recycling to finally close the loop in textiles, once and for all.

The Circular Textiles for a Sustainable Future report is the culmination of months of hard work and dedicated research, with invaluable contributions from the following world-leading companies and textile institutes:

Project Plan B, Stuff4Life, wear2wear™, Lenzing, W. L. Gore, Worn Again Technologies, DenimX, Teesside University, University of Leeds, INVISTA CORDURA® Brand, Sympatex Technologies, Avena Environmental, APT Fabrics & Decontex.

PCIAW® has worked tirelessly in close collaboration with Business in the Community and Textiles 2030 to accelerate a shift towards a circular, sustainable framework in the professional clothing industry.

PCIAW® is committed to championing sustainable innovators, educating the industry, and facilitating dialogue to steer the direction of the industry towards a more ethical, circular future.

The Circular Textiles report is a vital resource for the industry to adopt forward-thinking measures in reuse and recycling to finally close the loop in textiles, once and for all. PCIAW® is committed to championing sustainable innovators, educating the industry, and facilitating dialogue to steer the direction of the industry towards a more ethical, circular future. 

The importance of systemic, infrastructural transformation must be facilitated by all actors involved in the life of a product, influencing suppliers of raw materials, manufacturers, consumers, plus end-of-life collection and disposal companies. We hope that the Circular Textiles report is an enriching and highly informative guide for the entirety of the professional clothing industry. 

Thank you to everyone who tuned in to witness the launch of our Circular Textiles report – download this exclusive, first of its kind document only at pciaw.org.

The Circular Textiles for a Sustainable Future report can be downloaded for free at www.pciaw.org. The video of the webinar launching the report can be found there also.

The PCIAW®vision for circularity

PCIAW®envisions a circular economy that begins with an efficient collection and dismantling stage. In order to design truly circular garments, we must involve all participants in the supply chain and extend this dialogue to organisations and governments across the world. 

It is integral to educate young designers and students on how to design-in circularity in garments.

We must extend this dialogue to important actors in fabric and fibre production so that garment technologists can design with 100% circularity in mind. This way, manufacturers and industrial laundries can operate in optimal conditions to ensure that textiles are readily recyclable, allowing collection agencies to promptly sort through monofibre garments in an economically and ethically viable manner, facilitating a truly circular economy.

The EU’s Circular Economy Package shows that Europe is further ahead in its recycling journey, with EU member states required to meet a recycling rate of 55% by 2025, 60% by 2030 and 65% by 2035.

Although the UK government joined this initiative, it missed the 2020 target of 50%, showing that there is much catching up to do.

The PCIAW® is calling on governments globally to invest in textile recycling infrastructure and technologies, as the capacity to recycle garments is not available on a commercial scale yet. 

Circular Textiles Recycle Chart

Accelerating a circular textiles economy

In order to accelerate a vision of circularity on a truly global scale, PCIAW® is delving into the intricate processes of reusing and recycling, collaborating with an expert network of leading companies in the professional clothing industry to champion an eco-conscious future based on renewable sources.

Project Plan B, Avena Environmental, Stuff4Life, DenimX and Worn Again Technologies are all piloting promising developments that are capable of recycling now and are all made to be fully scalable in the future. 

One of the key challenges the developing recycling technologies are facing is a lack of compatible clothing to process due to the nature of the current production methods using complex multi-fibre blends. It is imperative that the textile industry begins designing-in circularity now in order to mitigate against clothing going to landfill at its end-of-life. There is no logic to waiting for recycling technologies to expand capacity to begin producing sustainable garments because this will guarantee clothing manufactured over the next few years will suffer the end-of-life fate of environmentally damaging landfill or incineration.  

The professional clothing industry is making significant inroads into facilitating recycling initiatives already. The bulk of workwear garments are made from polyester, which shows that the sector is ideally positioned to implement vast collection and recycling policies, with monofibre garments notably more efficient for recycling.

DISMANTLE & RECYCLE

The supply chain must understand how to dispose of textiles in order to create circular-ready clothing. It is important to understand the process of sorting, deconstructing and upcycling in order to design-in circularity.

EDUCATION:

Education is the key to unlocking a circular textile economy. Teaching of the closed loop systems must start at the educational level, with all schools, colleges, and universities educating student designers of the positive environmental impact a circular economy will provide.

FIBRE & YARN

The fibres and yarns are the starting point of a garment’s production and so it is imperative that producers design-in circularity, particularly if using synthetic materials. The textile industry must diversify to find degradable materials or ensure fibres are fully recyclable to prevent landfill waste.

FABRIC & MEMBRANE

To create a sustainable future, fabrics manufacturers must consider circularity. It is important to think about linings, adhesives and dyeing to avoid creating fabrics incompatible with recycling technologies. 

GARMENT TECHNOLOGISTS

Garment technologists oversee every stage of production, from design to manufacture. Therefore, it is imperative that circularity is at the forefront of their thinking. Without garment technologists ensuring recyclability in every aspect, the end-product risks the fate of landfill or incineration.

It is clear that the textile industry must foreground resource efficiency, end-of-life recyclability and sustainable development from renewable natural materials.

MANUFACTURERS

Manufacturers must take responsibility for incorporating recyclable fibres, yarns and fabrics into garments and ensuring components are compatible with recycling infrastructure or have a strategy in place for dismantling non-recyclable materials. By offering take back and mend schemes at end-of-life, manufacturers can keep the closed-loop system flowing smoothly.

LAUNDRY

Workwear and PPE can become contaminated in hazardous working environments, preventing a circular-ready garment from being recycled. By partnering with textile laundry services, contaminated clothing can be cleaned to allow for processing by recycling technologies. 

COLLECTION

To recycle textiles, they first must be collected. Collection of end-of-life clothing, whether by end-users or the suppliers, is an essential bedrock of the circulatory system. 

If the supply chain succeeds in creating a circular-ready clothing, they could still end-up in landfill if not distributed to the recycling companies. 

The Circular Textiles for a Sustainable Future report can be downloaded for free at www.pciaw.org. The video of the webinar launching the report can be found there also.

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