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Textile Exchange launches new initiative to promote circularity in textiles


Accelerating Circularity, a burgeoning collaborative initiative, spearheaded by Textile Exchange aims to promote circular textile-to-textile supply chains, says a Sourcing Journal report. Comprising of founding members such as Gap Inc., Lenzing, Nike, Target, Unifi and VF Corp, the initiative seeks to investigate the need and materials for recycling, How can textiles be collected and prepared for recycling and how can textiles be recycled—and by whom.

The report says, states like Alabama and West Virginia accounted for 7.7 million of the 16.9 million tonne of textile waste generated by consumers in annually in the country. A combination of U.S. Census data and the initiative’s research revealed that the East Coast makes up roughly 90,000 of the 120,000 tonne of post-industrial textile waste produced in the United States annually.

Diverting these textiles from incineration and landfill can lower the apparel industry’s ballooning greenhouse-gas emissions and slash back its exploitation of virgin resources, according to Accelerating Circularity, whose work is funded by Gap Inc., Target, VF Corp. and the Walmart Foundation.

Around 35 per cent of the 86 per cent of post-consumer textiles that can potentially be diverted from landfill or incineration are ‘readily recyclable’ using conventional mechanical means because they contain pure cotton, pure polyester or materials greater than 50 percent cotton with some level of polyester but little to no elastane.

Another 45 percent is ‘potentially recyclable,’ meaning it can be recycled with the commercialization of technologies that have a broader range of input specifications, including up to 20 percent elastane, manmade cellulosics in a blend and nylon. The rest is ‘not likely recyclable’ because their coatings, finishes or multi-material composition make them difficult or impossible to process using existing means.