The Problem

According to California’s 2014 Waste Characterization Study, over 1,234,711 tons of textiles was discarded in California, contributing to 4% of the CA waste stream, not including other fiber products, like carpet. A recent study by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation indicates that our clothing consumption is increasing, while garment utilization is decreasing. In short, we are buying more clothing and disposing it more frequently.

Textiles are not limited to just garments, but also incorporated in many household and industrial products, like furniture and automobiles. Problematic textile products include “flushable” wet wipes and other single-use non-woven textiles that are flushed in the toilet, causing expensive sewer problems. Research has shown the synthetic micro-fibers from textiles products have been found to be the most common types of microplastic debris in the environment. They have been identified across a diversity of samples from streams, rivers, lakes, ocean water, the deep-sea, wildlife, arctic sea ice, seafood and table salt.

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