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. End-of-life management becomes a key element in creating a circular economy for textiles and clothing.
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. A study in 2018 by the EU Federal Environment Agency and the Medical University of Vienna detected microplastics in human bodies of 8 international participants for the first time.
Articles & Press
- American Airlines uniforms to go through extra tests for hazardous materials – Charlotte Business Journal, 9/6/2018
- Reebok releases its first plant-based footwear – Innovations in Textiles, 8/15/18
- Over Plastic Straws These Designers Have a Few Other Ideas for Reducing Your Plastic Waste – Vogue, 7/17/18
- What really happens to old clothes dropped in those in-store recycling bins – CBC News, 1/19/18
- Cooking oil and wet wipes main culprits in sewer – Stuff.co, 1/19/18
- Microplastics detected in humans for the first time– Medicine and Science, 10/23/2018
- A-New-Textiles-Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future – Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 11/2017
- After-the-Binge-the-Hangover – Insights into the Minds of Clothing Consumers, Greenpeace, 2017
- River study of plastic and non-plastic microfiber – Marine Pollution Bulletin, 7/2017
- Quantifying shedding of synthetic fibers from textiles – Environmental Science Pollution Research, 10/2017