NSW textile recycling trial an overwhelming success

By Liam Taylor 27 January 2021

Residents of a regional NSW council are revealing the huge appetite amongst Australians for environmentally responsible options for used textiles.

The trial textile recycling program established by Bathurst Regional Council in Central NSW has collected and recycled 1,600kg of textile materials in just one month.

Clothing, bedding, curtains and all manner of other old textiles have been successfully recycled through the program, which has been described as a resounding success with the community uptake far exceeding initial expectations.

"We underestimated it — we thought it would be something new, it might be a handful of people,” Bathurst Council waste management coordinator Ray Trevorah told ABC News.

The unwanted textiles are reused in three ways: as clothing in developing nations; cut up for rags and cleaning uses; and broken down into fibres through innovative recycling processes, for re-creation into entirely new fabrics for various uses. 

To deliver the trial, which will continue for another two months, the council partnered with Textile Recyclers Australia, a Sydney-based company who recently opened a new recycling facility to continue their work aimed at promoting circular fashion.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, about 800,000 tonnes of textile, leather and rubber waste was discarded in the 2018-19 financial year, with just 24% of the waste category being recovered rather than sent to landfill. Over 90% of this waste is generated by households, meaning individuals can undertake changes to their own fashion habits and have a significant impact on waste generation in this area.

Households can find environmentally responsible options for their old textiles via RecyclingNearYou, while options for commercial quantities of textile waste can be found via BusinessRecycling

Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.

Liam Taylor
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. Joining the communications team at Planet Ark, he hopes to inspire positive environmental behaviour through effective and positive messaging.