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 & 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 and future speakers on this topic include Bank & Vogue, Renewcell, H&M Foundation, HKRITA, Evrnu, Circ., Worn Again, Queen of Raw, Goodwill Industries, Value Village, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Outerknown, Wearable Collections, Fashion Positive, thredUP, Debrand, The Renewal Workshop, MBDC, Circular Systems and many more.
For over 2 years, we convened the Ontario Textile Diversion Collaborative (OTDC) funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation – which brought together multiple stakeholders 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.
We are now conducting the first Textile Recycling Feasibility Study, funded by Environment & Climate Change Canada, which will result in a published roadmap and report for the industry, available in spring and summer 2021 respectively. This groundbreaking research is necessary for both the public and private sectors in order to understand the business case for a local recycling industry. Our research partners include Seneca College, Ryerson University, George Brown College, Goodwill Industries and the CTTEI, and we are a collaborative partner of Accelerating Circularity.
Our methodology involves analyzing data from our own recently conducted quarterly post-consumer textile waste audits in 9 different municipalities, over the course of one year. From this research, we can determine the volume of textiles that consumers are throwing away, as well as their condition, and in some cases the fiber composition and brand name. In addition, we surveyed the apparel industry – yarn, fiber and fabric mills, apparel manufacturers, brands and retailers – to determine the volume and composition of post-industrial and pre-consumer textile waste in Canada.
On the technical research side, we are looking at hydrothermal, chemical and mechanical recycling processes – the science, technology, equipment, cost, input, output etc. We will have interviewed a number of global recyclers to determine which one is best suited to the Canadian industry.
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.