New Zealand in pursuit of a circular economy

An organisation, In New Zealand, has been launched that aims to increase the proportion of recycling in the clothing and textile industry.

The textile reuse programme which was established in 2016 in New Zealand formed the base framework for the Textile Product Stewardship Project keeping in mind the common goal of establishing a circular economy.

The main goal of the project is to improve how clothes are brought to market and manage the end-of-life cycle through large scale collaboration projects to create new technologies and solutions.

The organisation states that only a tiny fraction of the annual global clothing production which is over 100 billion units are recycled. In order to tackle this problem, the company faces significant environmental challenges, with over 150000 tons of textile waste ending up in landfills each year. The textile industry represents New Zealand’s fastest-growing waste stream having a gross waste of high volume.

In order to redirect the maximum possible volume of textiles from landfill the Textile Product Stewardship Project has established an accredited voluntary scheme, financing the costs of end-of-life textile management across New Zealand.

The Ministry of the Environment’s Te Pūtea Whakamaru Para, Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) 2019 funding round and Textile Reuse Programme foundation partners Alsco NZ, Barkers Clothing, Deane Apparel and Wellington City Council is funding the two-year program.

The Formary environmental health service’s CEO and the current project manager Peter Thompson believes that the support from the Ministry of Environment and the textile reuse program partners are crucial to ensure the acceleration of the transformation to take place within the industry.

The Product stewardship program plays a vital role in the New Zealand’s Waste Ministry Act that allows the organisation of voluntary and mandatory product stewardship programs to decrease waste and transition the linear market into a circular economy.

Any organisation can register their interest in the Product Stewardship Project as long as they either produce, supply and use textiles.