April 3, 2019
There were a great number of exciting developments unveiled at the Australian Circular Fashion Conference 2019 last month, but it is unlikely any will have the lasting impact of the Australasian Circular Textile Association (ACTA). The organisation, which was officially launched at the conference, was founded in order to support the fashion industry in its efforts to achieve ‘circularity’ in fashion.
The concept of circularity may sound complex, but it essentially means transitioning from a linear ‘take-make-waste’ model towards one in which resources are reused, remade or recycled to ‘close the loop’ on the materials we use. This is ACTA’s raison d’être; to establish circularity in fashion such that zero textile waste goes to landfill.
The organisation has a fair job ahead, with Australians being the second largest consumers of apparel worldwide and sending approximately 6 tonnes of textiles to landfill every 10 minutes. Globally, the fashion industry is the world’s second-largest polluter only behind the fossil fuel industry.
“We encompass a lot of directional tools around new resources, education platforms and a textile take-back program, all aimed at addressing textile waste,” said ACTA founder Camille Reed.
“We’re the facilitator and the aggregator to help join the dots to save industry, and the entire vertical supply chain that’s connected with industry, time and money to facilitate sustainability.”
ACTA is partnering with the Australian Packaging Covenant, charities that collect pre-loved garments and fashion brands and enlisting them as key solution providers to operate closed-loop recycling. This is a unique service that is not otherwise available for the Australian fashion industry.
An important element of this transition will be changing the perception of textile waste from worthless trash to a valuable commodity. Recovering, reusing and recycling the materials used to make garments is already cheaper than sending those goods to landfill or incineration, meaning this change in perception should be relatively simple.
In the past, a lack of demand, infrastructure and professional network has prevented such a shift from occurring. ACTA aims to connect these dots and, ultimately, ensure the value of textile waste is both recognised and harnessed for the greater good.
Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.