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Ellen MacArthur and Stella McCartney Call to Reduce Textile Waste

Kayley Loveridge

Reduce Textile Waste
Stella McCartney, Courtesy Shutterstock

Environmental campaigner Ellen MacArthur and revered UK fashion designer Stella McCartney call to reduce textile waste in the fashion industry.

A new ground-breaking report has been released by the Ellen McArthur Foundation raising concerns about the impact that textile waste has on the environment. The report, A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future, states that “total greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production, at 1.2 billion tonnes annually, are more than those of all international flights and maritime shipping combined.”

Global demand for clothing is increasing year-on-year and is forecast to reach 650 million tonnes by 2050—three times the amount produced today. These figures have pushed leading influencers in the industry to raise awareness and do something about it. The report proposes innovative means to reduce textile waste in clothing and propel the fashion industry into today’s forward-thinking, conscientious society. These proposals include reducing and eliminating textiles with harmful substances, increasing the quality of clothing to reduce waste and encourage recycling on a wide scale.

Currently, non-renewable sources are being used in the production of clothing. According to the report, less than one percent of clothing is recycled every year. The current economic model as practiced in the textiles industry is “linear”. This refers to the unsustainable model of taking, making and disposing of materials.

McArthur and McCartney hope to help transform the textile industry into a “circular” economic model. This refers to an economy that reduces energy, resources, emissions and waste, by slowing and closing energy loops.

MacArthur, founder of the foundation, said, “The report presents an ambitious vision of a new system, based on circular economy principles, that offers benefits to the economy, society and the environment.”

MacArthur has partnered with fashion powerhouse McCartney, whose label will utilize ocean plastic in place of woven or recycled polyester in its products. “What really excites me about [the report] is that it provides solutions to an industry that is incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment,” she said.

Huge names in high street fashion including H&M have championed the call to reduce textile waste. They said, “It’s a call for action for systemic collaborations and is aligned with our efforts in making sure that economic and social development can happen in a way that the planet can afford.”

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