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  • Aug 10, 2023

Looped In: August 2023

Updates from Paul Shorthouse, CELC’s Managing Director

Textiles is an industry dominated by overconsumption and fast fashion, and is a leading driver of resource depletion and social exploitation. Addressing these issues is integral to trying to achieve broader sustainability targets – which circular strategies and approaches can help to solve. Luckily, there are many who are already drawing the connection between the circular economy and the textiles industry.

As outlined in recent reports by UNEP and Zero Waste Europe, existing approaches and initiatives to make fashion fair and sustainable, while important, are insufficient for addressing harmful business models that rely on overproduction and overconsumption. Both studies identify essential criteria that must be met to make the fashion industry more circular, which revolve around improving design and manufacturing processes, shifting consumption and use habits, increasing transparency and traceability, and reducing overall production.  UNEP’s report goes on to outline what different stakeholder groups can do individually and collectively to reach the shared destination of a circular textiles industry.

Examples of circular fashion in practice are emerging. Partners from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign Project (i.e., fashion manufacturers and brand owners), for example, are proving that it is possible to redesign a high percentage of their jeans portfolio, as well as other products, using circular economy principles.

Closer to home, a recent study in the journal Resources, Conservation, and Recycling presents a novel procedure for assessing textile waste in Ontario, starting with a definition of textile waste from the perspective of a circular economy.  The researchers found that 65% of textile waste could be reused and 21% recycled, pointing to opportunities for increasing the circularity of textiles through various waste diversion programs.

And of course, Fashion Takes Action – a CELC Partner – is consistently pushing for a more circular textile economy in Canada. Most recently, FTA launched the Canadian Circular Textiles Consortium (CCTC), and will be hosting their WEAR Conference once again this October in Toronto (Early Bird tickets are on sale now!).


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