In the current fashion trend, we have thrown more than 500,000 tons of clothes in landfill every year compared to only two million tons being bought by shops.
And Britain is no exception as we have been famous as a “throw-away society” with one of every three local councils can find clothes and rubbish together. In the past, old clothes were reused, hand down to family or relatives, or donated to charity organizations.
The British Government wants to limit clothes dumping by requiring its local councils to introduce textile recycling to address the increase in clothes dumping and stop them from reaching the landfills.
Most common waste have been significantly reduce from going to the landfills but textile garbage has increase three times in just a few years since the price of clothes have drop due to ‘Primark effect’.
To reduce limit the waste that goes to landfills, the British Government enforce taxes for every ton of waste being delivered to dumpsites or suffer with extreme fines. Concerned about the issue, the local councils have begun adding textile to their segregation that includes plastics, paper, glass and cardboard.
This move requires that every household must have a separate clothing bins need to be segregated from types of waste such as glass and food waste but clothes can also be added with plastic, paper and tin.
The local councils also develop co-mingled collections where recyclable materials are all put in one bag. Some local council is presently testing a technique where clothes are put into ‘survival sack’ together with clean recycled materials such as paper but will make sure that it remains clean and can be segregated after.
Around 60% of our clothes being collected are sent to Africa and Eastern Europe for re-use and another 35% is being used as mattress fillers or insulation while less down 5% that cannot be recycled are thrown to landfills.
But some charity shops are concerned that we will be encouraged to throw our clothes rather than donating it to charitable institutions. Most people now forget how to stitch damage clothes anymore and they find it economical to buy than fixing an old one.
We must therefore think about the labor and environmental effect of throwing clothes and buying new ones and consider re-using these clothes or recycling.