Join us April 11th for the Textile Diversion & Recycling Symposium!
Following our recent textile recycling feasibility report, we are now running a mechanical textile recycling pilot that will result in a new end product made from 50% post-consumer textiles (our unwanted clothes) and 50% rPET (from plastic bottles).
With financial support from Environment & Climate Change Canada (ECCC), we created a local recycling supply chain that consists of:
Alongside the pilot, we are convening a national stakeholder learning group, with the hope that they will replicate and/or scale this pilot. We believe that chemical recycling offers a true circular solution for fashion – garment to garment recycling – but it could be years before we see this technology widely adopted.
In the meantime, we know that at least 500,000 tonnes of post-consumer textile waste ends up in Canada’s landfills each year, many of which are garments made from synthetic (or plastic) materials such as polyester, nylon and acrylic. And to address this, we need a more immediate solution.
We have been mechanically recycling textiles for years in Canada, which most often results in an end product that is not aesthetically pleasing, “hidden” behind walls or under carpets in the form of insulation or under-padding. This “downcycled” end product has little value. Our pilot will result in a stylish, consumer facing end product that has value, and that will be sold in stores fall/winter 2022.
At FTA we look for as many opportunities to collaborate as possible. As such we are pleased to be partnered with the following leaders in circularity:
Since 2016, FTA has taken a keen interest in making fashion circular. And we know that the only way to accelerate action is through Collaboration, Transparency, Investment & Innovation.
Through our annual WEAR conference and webinar series, we have supported this topic multiple times, with speakers that include Circle Economy, Bank & Vogue, Re:newcell, H&M Foundation, HKRITA, Evrnu, Circ., Worn Again, Queen of Raw, Goodwill Industries, Value Village, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Outerknown, Wearable Collections, Fashion Positive, EON, thredUP, Debrand, The Renewal Workshop, MBDC, Circular Systems and many more.
From 2017-2019, we convened the Ontario Textile Diversion Collaborative (OTDC) that brought together multiple stakeholders (charities, municipalities, academics, retailers, NGOs) to address textile waste diversion and circular solutions. Through the OTDC we created three working groups to address policy and regulations, textile waste audits, and consumer awareness.
In 2021, we published Canada’s first Textile Recycling Feasibility report, with financial support from Environment & Climate Change Canada and in partnership with Seneca College, Ryerson University, George Brown College, Goodwill Industries and the CTTEI. In addition, FTA is a collaborative partner of Accelerating Circularity based in the U.S and a strategic partner of Circular Economy Leadership Canada where we hope to soon be leading a textiles work stream.
Our methodology involved analyzing data from our own post-consumer textile waste audits in 10 different municipalities, over the course of one year. From this research, we determined the volume of textiles that consumers are throwing away, as well as their condition, and in some cases the fibre composition and brand name. In addition, we surveyed the apparel industry – yarn, fibre and fabric mills, apparel manufacturers, brands and retailers – to determine the volume and composition of post-industrial and pre-consumer textile waste in Canada. In total, we estimate that nearly 500,000 tonnes of textile waste is ending up in Canada’s waste streams each year. This does not include textiles from the Industrial, Commercial & Institutional sector (ICI), which means this number is even higher.