The issue

Issues related to textile production, consumption, and waste is gaining significant momentum in Canada and beyond. The average person throws away 37 kilograms of textiles annually, and 95 per cent of the clothes North Americans throw away into landfills each year could be reused (reworn) or recycled. The majority of used clothing and other textile materials collected and not reused or repurposed in North America are sent offshore, oftentimes with limited information provided on management at their final disposition.

RCO and Value Village have partnered on a new education and action initiative that will raise awareness on the importance of textiles reuse (rewear) and recycling. During Earth Week 2017 we will challenge Ontario secondary school students (and their community) to collect as much used textiles as possible – along the way we’ll help them learn more about the environmental impacts of clothing production and consumption, as well as their role in our transition toward a circular and more sustainable economy.

Textiles Waste: The Facts

 

Definitions

Reduce:

Avoid the need to use an item or materials in the first place. Benefit: nothing to manage, dispose of, or recycle.

Reuse/Rewear:

Give an item or materials another use, preferably in its current form and purpose. Benefit: increase the value of the materials, prolong its life to avoid producing new material, and delay its management after use.

Recycling:

Process to transform or convert existing product or material into a new product or material. Benefit: Avoids or delays disposal, extends lifecycle of product or material, avoids or delays needing new materials or resources, and often reduces energy and water use during production

Donation (to a non-profit organization):

Form of reuse the extends the life of a product or materials in its current form. Delays disposal and recycling, and avoids productions inputs (materials and resources).

Rethink/Smart Consumption:

Making principle purchases to buy what is needed. When purchasing it considers the entire lifecycle of a product or material when acquiring it: how it was designed and produced; what materials were used; what responsibility is the producer/retailer taking for the product; what are the options when I no longer want the product (can it be donated to a non-profit organization, reused, or recycled).