The Australian Government is acting on waste related to clothing textiles.
Clothing textiles are on the Minister’s Product Stewardship Priority List (the list). The government is funding a National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme (the Scheme). The Australian Fashion Council is leading development of the scheme.
These programs aim to reduce the environmental impact of clothing textiles. They will contribute to positive social and health outcomes including a circular economy.
The Australian Fashion Council has released the following research findings:
- Australians bought 383,000 tonnes of new clothing in 2018–19 – about 56 items per person.
- 210,000 tonnes of clothing are donated or re-used annually.
- Very little recycled sourced fibre is used in clothing fabric production.
The National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme seeks to:
- collect data on the textile lifecycle
- reduce the amount of clothing sent to landfill
- improve clothing design and production to increase longevity, re-use and recycling.
Making textiles a priority
The list signals to the industry that it must act on clothing textiles waste. This can include action to improve design, recovery, re-use and recycling. The funding aims to support this work.
A national approach
To date, work to develop the National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme has involved:
- publishing a Clothing Data Report and a Global Scan Report
- engaging stakeholders across the supply chain to help design the Scheme.
The Scheme is expected to be launched in mid 2023.
Innovations in sorting, fibre separation and recycling of textiles are emerging in Australia.
Australian company BlockTexx has developed a technology to recover polyester and cellulose. They are exploring options to expand nationally. Blocktexx have received government funding to support this work.
The department will continue to track the progress of these projects.