ABC's War on Waste series found Australians are dumping 6,000 kilograms of clothing in landfill every 10 minutes. And at last official count, Australia recycles 88,000 tonnes of clothing per year, but it's the staggering 679,000 tonnes of textile waste going to landfill that we are set to capture.
The Circular Textile Waste Service key goals are to safely repurpose non-renewable textiles using circular design principals; reduce pollution, carbon and plastic microfibres plus create circular industry jobs and training in Australia, specifically for disability enterprises.
See full Key Goal details & large schematic below.
Our Service provides a value chain of partnerships that capture, sort, dismantle and re-purpose the textiles many times over using significant technological developments to create high value products used in the auto, architectural, building, fashion and interiors industries.
The CTWS is to be independently audited as a circular design system. Our Clients are encouraged to use this Certification to promote this status to customers showing a commitment to becoming a full circular economy business.
CONTACT Alison Jose for information on participating as a Council offering the Pick Up Service, a business offering the Service or to repurpose your commercial waste.
BOOK A FREE Next-day Pick-Up Service provided for by participating Sydney Councils (& ultimately extended Australia-wide).
e-waste, soft plastics and all "good" and "waste" clothing.
Clothing is sorted into & distributed:
1. "good" clothing is donated to Vinnies
2. clean clothing that you'd throw in the bin so we can save from landfill
3. all of your unwanted denim to be upcycled or re-designed; everything from a patch to couture.
Customers can DROP OFF their unwanted clothing into your CTWS Clothing Bins:
GREEN BIN - 4 REPURPOSE
Save it from landfill & drop your clean clothing "waste" to be repurposed through our Circular Streams. That includes bras and bed linen.
BLUE BIN - ANY and all denim for the CIRCULAR DENIM PROJECT
OPTIONAL YELLOW BIN - to collect "good" clothing that is donated to help Vinnies continue to do their charitable work.
If it doesn't require our team to dismantle then send it straight for repurposing and become Zero Textile Waste Certified.
Safely repurposing all textile waste including wool, cotton, denim and the important mixed synthetic blends that continue to shed plastic microfibres in your washing machine.
Upcycle and re-design donated denim; everything from a single patch to couture.
The service will minimise clothing and textile waste and re-use this valuable non-renewable resources to repurpose and reincarnate into high value “new” products. In addition, we offer a take-back service for the re-purposed products as they have the capacity to continue to be disassembled and repurposed a multitude of times to continue the material’s value adding.
Estimates indicate that Australians purchase the equivalent of 27 kilograms of new clothing each year and dispose of 23 kilograms each year. ABS data in 2016-17 showed Australian exports of “worn clothing and other worn textile articles” was 93,502,966 kilos.
This service will re-purpose 100% textiles using circular design manufacturing and maintain their highest and safest value to ensure “good” materials are safely re-used. We re-use natural materials like denim, 100% cotton back into yarn and 100% wool repurposed for filters plus re-purpose the buttons, metals and elastic.
This service offers true circular design methods through two waste streams;
Waste Stream 1. Vertical Closed Loop using 100% mixed textiles into carpet, underlay, filters and sound proofing.
Waste Stream 2 is with Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, of the UNSW Centre for Sustainable Materials Research & Technology (SMaRT) at UNSW. The SMaRT Centre produce high quality green steel and building materials using waste with no loss of quality in the final products.
Textiles will also be combined with glass to make beautiful SMaRT stone kitchen and bathroom bench tops, and with wood pulp to make office and household furniture. Ultimately the textiles may be used in place of non-renewable coke in the production of steel.
To create new onshore circular industry employment and social opportunities with particular focus on disability enterprises who run supported working environments throughout Australia.
This work includes sorting and dismantling of the clothing plus re-purposing and re-design for the Circular Denim Project and Circular PPE that uses unwanted curtains from St Vincent’s Hospital and other polyester fabric waste.
The Circular Denim Project also offers interested disability enterprise staff an opportunity to upskill and train at TAFE NSW.
To date there is no formal monitoring across the country for clothing and textile waste. The ABS estimate more than 500,000 tonnes end up in landfill in Australia each year.
The most up to date data is from the National Waste Report 2017-18 showing that in 2016-17 approximately 776,000 tonnes of mixed textile waste was generated in Australia. Although reported as “core materials”, textiles are recorded within a mix of textiles, leather and rubber (excluding tyres).
9,000 tonnes went to energy from waste however textiles offer a comparatively low calorific value and 88,000 tonnes were recycled. A total of 679,000 tonnes were landfilled giving a 12% recycling rate.
Of the 88% of textiles in Australia going to landfill through a variety of supply chains, our goal is to capture this waste along with detailed data collection to help highlight existing barriers plus develop employment and waste opportunities and policies that will sustain a new industry of providers and circular design innovation around these materials.
Close monitoring of the supply chain design will create specific and efficient textile waste streams and avoid co-mingling with general mixed waste causing cross contamination and develop a specific circular textile resource and revenue stream.
In addition to plastic waste from bottles, bags, straws etc, 1/3 of the plastic found in the oceans are from plastic clothing.
Some chemical and mechanical solutions repurpose synthetic textile waste back into fabrics to continue to add plastic to the oceans, however the goal of this Service is to remove them from the fashion supply chain.
This service diverts the “bad” materials in fossil fuel plastic and synthetic textiles away from the opportunity to recycle them back into textiles.
This will reduce the continual harm from plastic microfibers being shed in the waterways during both production and domestic washing situations.
Currently microfibers cannot be extracted from the water and they can spread throughout the food chain causing a negative impact on environmental, animal and human health.
Even when recycled, plastic clothing’s lifespan is 100-200 years therefore we need to remove it from most apparel as soon as possible given its long polluting lifespan and absence of microfibre filtering and capture systems.
We are committed to "take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts" as outlined by the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
7. ENERGY AND WATER CONSERVATION
Manufacturing methods used to make the repurposed “green” products are non-toxic and use zero or minimal water during production.
They reduce energy consumption which helps to cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. A future goal is to ensure all businesses along the supply chain use renewable energy sources.
Denim especially uses large amounts of resources during production including cotton, water and indigo. Its estimated that one pair of denim jeans requires 3781 Litres of water to grow, dye and process the cotton, resulting in contaminated water, air and carbon emissions.
The Circular Denim Project will preserve the material integrity and non-renewable resources to make contemporary new apparel and accessories.
By diverting textiles from landfill we help to minimise greenhouse gases, particularly methane, that are emitted whilst the textiles decompose.
"Methane is 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
Landfill methane emissions currently contribute about 3% of Sydney’s total greenhouse gas emissions." City of Sydney.
“A significant by-product of waste disposal is gas emissions into the atmosphere. When organic waste decomposes in landfills, it releases methane and other greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change.
Similarly, greenhouse gases can also be emitted during the treatment and processing of wastewater and sewage, or during the incineration of waste. ABS
In addition the Circular Centre will launch the #iamcarbonpositive Movement to give the public & garment makers an opportunity to offset aud$2.10 per garment via soil, seaweed and tree sequestration methods. This equates to double the carbon emitted during the manufacturing and shipping of a garment to become carbon positive.
The service will educate beyond conventional recycling and establish circular design principles that give businesses and councils the opportunity to engage with their customers and consumers plus offer positive solutions that support communities and the environment by keeping it out of landfill.
This exposure will highlight the industries’ advanced capabilities to repurpose non-renewable resources plus new innovation in this sector and the enormous associated environmental benefits.
The circular economy principles also aim to improve low rates of use, highlight over consumption and minimise “fast fashion” addictions.
To advance the importance of the second-hand clothing market and clothes swaps to keep clothing in circulation for as long as possible. Promote circular design practices by fashion and garment designers making timeless fashion with new or recycled biodegradable, sustainable and ethical textiles.
We will educate a whole-systems change to encourage restorative and individualised solutions such better laundry management; ie wash full loads, minimise abrasion through liquid detergents and use of the Guppyfriend Laundry Bag that also helps to capture microfibres.
Increase awareness around repair, recycle and upcycle movements plus the enormous reach of “War on Waste” and “Pay it Forward” groups within communities plus through our Circular Denim Project and @circularschools
1. Products such as the vertical circular loop carpet, underlay and insulation are 100% textiles and meet Australian Fire Standards plus received the Gold accreditation standard of the Global GreenTag Certification.
As textile waste, they have therefore already off-gassed and we intend to apply for the WELL Building Industry environmental safety standards. Standard synthetic carpet tiles are known to have negative impacts on the occupant’s health as they off-gas in a confined space.
A goal of circular design is to enhance sustainable economic growth, reduce costs, use fewer virgin materials and build financially sustainable supply chains to benefit customers and businesses through the sales of repurposed products.
Both circular design and re-design begin at design inception stage to consider fewer materials, simplified supply chains plus fewer spare parts in inventory.
This Service adds value by re-using 100% collected materials plus preserving their integrity for as long as possible, such as re-purposing extracted metals and plastics and unwanted hospital curtains to make PPE and durable fabrics like denim.
We will develop sales opportunities with our partners to sell the re-purposed products. Denim can be made into contemporary new apparel and accessories sold in-store and online.
All sales enable the Circular Centre to increase client rebates to ensure our clients continued use of the service and financial viability.
This service is designed to minimise the existing crisis of clothing waste being dumped to charities in Clothing bins and unlawfully at collection points.
Op Shops are a vital source of funding for charities therefore the addition of donated waste presents a grave problem forcing charities to pay to dispose of it thus minimising the charities’ capacity to deliver their programs.
It relieves the burden of sorting, repairing, transport and landfill levies.
Charities such as The Smith Family have recently divested some 200 clothing bins due to the volume of dumped and inappropriate waste.
The ABC reporting in January 2019 said that “Australian charities are paying $13 million a year to send unusable donations to landfill.
The National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations (NACRO) estimates 60,000 tonnes of unwanted items, including soiled mattresses, broken appliances and even dirty nappies are sent to landfill each year” and how "Charities are spending millions to clean up".
All re-sale of pre-owned clothing offers tangible benefits to households seeking affordable, quality clothing. Our Repair & Relove Bin will re-utilise high quality wearable clothing including those that require minor repairs to extend its life.