Having already set in train a billion dollar transformation of Australia’s Recycling industry to tackle plastics, paper, glass and tyres, the Morrison Government is setting its sights on the 800,000 tonnes of clothing and textiles discarded by Australians each year.
Australians discard an average 31 kilos of textiles per person annually, at a national rate of 15 tonnes of textile waste every ten minutes.
According to the Australasian Circular Textile Association (ACTA), parents who have just been purchasing school uniforms and tradies getting ready for the year ahead will contribute 12,000 tonnes of branded uniforms alone to landfill in the next twelve months.
For the most part we are importing these items from overseas and dumping them in landfill here at the end of their life.
Suppliers, consumers and manufacturers will need to collaborate to find as many options for re-manufacturing onshore as possible and be as innovative with textiles as we have been with plastics.
Our manufacturing heritage puts us in an amazing position to reclaim that space and apply Aussie innovation and know-how to this challenge. This has the potential to kickstart new industry for more jobs.
Half the Australian workforce wears a uniform to work yet Australia is only recycling around 1 per cent of end-of-life uniforms, we can do better.
“This doesn’t have to mean people pay more. Making good fashion choices can be as simple as choosing timeless pieces for longevity, avoiding fast fashion and shopping for pre-loved clothing wherever possible” said Ms Marino.
The Morrison Government has provided a $20 million National Product Stewardship Investment Fund which has attracted strong industry support and is being implemented across a range of sectors.
Further information on the fund and related stewardship schemes are available at: https://www.environment.gov.au/protection/waste/product-stewardship/national-product-stewardship-investment-fund