Greenpeace: 'Recycling is not a solution' for rise in textile waste

Dive Brief:

  • A new report from Greenpeace Germany says "recycling is not a solution" for most textile waste because it's not economically feasible to process clothes into new fibers due to "technological challenges," as reported by Quartz.
  • According to the report, 95% of the clothing that is thrown away could be worn again or repaired with minor alterations. Yet mechanical recycling processes that chop up the material limit those possibilities and blended fibers, such as cotton and polyester, create additional complications. While some chemical recycling methods are in the works, none have become feasible on a large scale so far.
  • The report calls out "fast fashion" — clothing that is not meant to be durable — as a particular issue. For example, H&M offers vouchers for recycling textiles in its stores but the company isn't recycling the majority of that into new garments and uses virgin resources for its products instead. Donations are also not a perfect solution as secondhand clothing often ends up being sent to other countries in larger quantities than they can handle.

Read more here.