At the moment, the onus is on us as consumers to manage our textile (clothing, bedding, towels…) waste. There’s no accountability with brands, and unlike plastic, glass, paper, aluminium we don’t have curbside collection – because the infrastructure to manage textile recycling doesn’t exist en masse.
This means a lot of our garments ends up in landfill. Even if we donate to charity shops, there’s no guarantee it’ll end up in the shop or go to people in need because they’re overwhelmed with donations, and receive lots of actual rubbish (such as stained underwear, broken bras, socks beyond repair, and more that need a helluva lot more DIY than a quick stitch or button replacement). It’s not fair for charities to become unofficial waste management (that’s not their job) when they’re meant be turning our unwanted quality items into profits to fund the charity.
This doesn’t sit right with me; we need regulation for brands to take responsibility, but that’s not happening. In June 2019 the UK Government rejected the recommendations from the Environmental Audit Committee over fast fashion, including for all clothing brands and retailers to pay a 1p tax on every garment they sell. This was estimated to be able to raise over £35 million in a year to improve textile reuse and recycling in the UK.
So if the responsibility is on me, I’m closing my wallet. By reducing how much we buy from brands – particularly fast fashion – we can affect their profits and influence their production choices, which will hopefully this will improve the situation for our planet. Voting with our wallet is powerful and available to all of us.
What do you think of this situation?
Dress: @justine_tabak 2019
Waistcoat: vintage Marion Donaldson via eBay 2019
Shoes: Carvela secondhand via ebay 2019
Necklace: Alighieri old season via overstock sale 2019
Bracelets: Halcyon Days 2015, Opus Robur 2018
Much love, Katie xo