From cellulose technology to take-back schemes, fashion is trying to bend the curve on its make-wear-discard business model, writes Angeli Mehta

We need clothes. Clothes for work and for pleasure. But what we wear is placing a huge strain on the environment. Growing prosperity and the churn of fast fashion have contributed to the doubling of world clothing production in the past 15 years. It’s grown at a faster rate than GDP, and at the same time, clothing utilization is in decline.

Of the 53m tonnes of fibres produced each year, less than 1%, half a million tonnes, are recycled back into production. Most fashion ends up in landfill – and much of that within a year of being made, an extraordinary waste of resources. So the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is gathering a global collaboration to turn the linear make-wear-discard fashion economy into a circular one.

Big brands like Burberry, Gap, H&M and Nike have come on board to work towards creating a circular economy that phases out harmful materials, and keeps clothes in use.

If we can recover materials, remanufacture and shift the system, circular beats linear

The planet’s finite resources need to be used in a different way, says MacArthur. The challenge is in making it happen, but doing so presents an economic opportunity worth over $500bn. MacArthur told the...

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sustainable cotton  textile recyling  HKRITA  Re:newcell  Forum for the Future  Primark  Ellen Macarthur Foundation  Levi Strauss  WRAP  Sustainable Clothing Action Plan  M&S 

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