How We're Making Fashion Circular in Canada

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, because it encompasses the entire supply chain, from design and sourcing through to end of life. Our past speakers on this topic 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)  funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation – which brought together multiple stakeholders (charities, municipalities, academics, retailers, NGOs) to address textile waste diversion and circular solutions. Through the OTDC we created four working groups to address policy and regulations, textile waste audits, consumer awareness and various recycling processes.

In 2020, we published Canada’s first Textile Recycling Feasibility report, funded by Environment & Climate Change Canada and in partnership with Seneca College, Ryerson University, George Brown College, Goodwill Industries and the CTTEI. In addition, FTA is and a collaborative partner of Accelerating Circularity based in the U.S and a strategic partner of Circular Economy Leadership Canada.

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.

Now we are conducting a mechanical textile recycling pilot, with the support of Environment & Climate Change Canada, which involves us building a local recycling supply chain, and convening a national stakeholder learning group. We recognize that chemical recycling is the solution of the future, however it could take years for that technology to scale. In the meantime, we have the mechanical recycling infrastructure in Canada, and it is imperative that we find a more immediate solution to deal with the volume of textiles in our landfills. For the first time, we will be producing a consumer facing end product, which will be tested in market to determine the true business case. If you are interested in learning more about this project and how to get involved, please email info at fashiontakesaction.com 

 

At FTA we are not interested in duplicating efforts or re-inventing the wheel. Simply put, we don’t have time for that. In order for us to get to where we need to be, as a global industry, we must join forces and truly collaborate.

Kelly Drennan, FTA Founder

HOW WE COLLABORATE

We are collaborative at heart, and are pleased to announce that we are leading a new Canadian Circular Fashion Consortium with multiple stakeholders from across Canada who are dedicated to research and taking action. This important work requires a systems change approach, which means that we must address this holistically – involving public and private sectors, and civil society. This is the only way we can achieve success at the accelerated pace required.

We are currently seeking funds to support a textile recycling pilot project in the province of Quebec. We have all the stakeholders in place, with a retailer managing in-store take back, a collection partner, a mechanical recycler, industry designer and technical research team, and an end product.

Interested in learning more?

Reach out to us at [email protected]

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