New apparel industry group kicks off project to eliminate textile waste

Accelerating Circularity, a new apparel industry collaborative project, has announced the launch of its effort to accelerate the textile industry’s move from linear to circular

With figures from the Environmental Protection Agency showing that 15 million tons of textile waste is generated annually in the USA alone, the textile industry must move from a ‘take-make-waste’ system to a circular one, in order to avoid the massive amounts of textile waste put into landfills annually.

The Walmart Foundation provided a grant to Textile Exchange’s Accelerating Circularity Project. Gap Inc, Target, and VF Corporation are also funding the project and participating in a working group. The project is initially focused on researching, mapping and identifying opportunities to pilot circular supply chains which will be driven by the mechanical and chemical recycling of cotton, viscose and polyester textile waste.

These three fibers cover more than 80% of all textile fiber production and are therefore important to focus on in order to reduce textile waste. Future phases will use phase 1 data and information to execute pilots and establish new research in other geographies.

The Accelerating Circularity founding project partners include Gap Inc, Giotex, Gr3n, Target, VF Corporation, Lenzing, Unifi, Revolve Waste and Fabrikology International, Inc, representing technology providers, fiber manufacturers, and experts in textile waste and supply chains, as well as brands and retailers.

“Shifting the apparel industry toward more circular solutions is a complex challenge with significant technical, economic, and business implications,” commented Alice Hartley, senior manager of Sustainable Innovation at Gap Inc and board member of Accelerating Circularity. “We have a responsibility to protect the environment and reduce waste at every stage of our production process – from design, to sourcing, to manufacturing. As we address the full life-cycle of our garments, we look forward to working with these partners to collaborate, advance efforts and share learnings with the wider industry for the health of our planet.”

Accelerating Circularity project partners are ensuring broad stakeholder representation by collaborating with industry organizations on this work including sharing information, amplifying key messages, and the streamlining of efforts. These organizations include the American Apparel & Footwear Association, Apparel Impact Institute, Circle Economy, Outdoor Industry Association, Textile Exchange, The Renewal Workshop, and the US Fashion Industry Association. Accelerating Circularity’s board members include Tricia Carey of Lenzing, Alice Hartley of Gap Inc, Beth Jensen of VF Corporation, Karla Magruder of Accelerating Circularity, Eileen Mockus of Coyuchi and Laila Petrie of 2050.

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This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement Nº 737882.


            

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