Clothing Waste Is Becoming a Huge Problem in the UK

As the textile and apparel market in UK continues to rebound, both manufacturing and consumption of apparel items are thriving, the amount of unwanted or discarded clothing is also soaring, and is becoming one of the biggest challenges for environmental and economic sustainability in the UK.


According to the recent research conducted by UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, consumers in the UK are expected to throw away around 680 million pieces of clothing this coming spring, due to updating their wardrobes for the new season. Within this heap of unwanted clothing, a staggering 235 million clothing items are predicted to end up in landfill, causing a huge negative impact for the environment, as reported by The Guardian.


The survey also shows that each UK consumer will dispose of an average of 19 clothing items this year, of which seven will be thrown straight into the bin. Over 49% of the people questioned in the retailer’s survey believed worn-out or dirty clothing items cannot be donated for recycling, prompting the textile and apparel industry to urge the public to set aside their used clothes for textile recycling irrespective of quality.


Furthermore, one in six respondents claimed that they have insufficient time available or cannot be bothered to sort and recycle unwanted clothing items, while 6% did not know that used clothing can be recycled.


Textile waste is becoming one of the biggest challenges for environmental and economic sustainability around the world. The UK isn’t the only one; other countries are also significantly contributing to the issue – over 15 million tonnes of textile waste is produced every year in the United States, while an enormous 9.35 million tonnes of textile waste are being landfilled or incinerated in the European Union each year.


In fact, more than 60 percent of clothes can be recycled and reused, and another 35 percent are recycled into wiping rags or are converted into basic fibres and made into new products. This leaves less than five percent that must be discarded. Luckily, there are more and more new and innovative textile recycling methods and ways to reduce textile waste that are gaining prominence around the globe and helping our planet.


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