In recent years, the fashion industry has become increasingly conscious of the concept of sustainability, with many brands and fashion organisations focusing on consumer demand for sustainable consumption. Some brands have launched new eco-innovation projects and some regions have even collaborated to build an economic recycling system, as the European Federation of the Apparel and Textile Industries (EURATEX) has done.
EURATEX has recently launched an innovative textile waste recycling initiative called "ReHubs", which has two parts, the first of which is to establish five textile waste recycling and treatment centres in the EU region in order to reduce the environmental impact of textile waste.
This will be a very ambitious project, involving five EU countries - Belgium, Finland, Germany, Italy and Spain - which will each set up a textile waste recycling and treatment centre to speed up the recycling of textile waste on a large scale and in a centralised manner.
According to the European Federation of the Garment and Textile Industry, textile waste is already a threat to the EU countries. 10.7 million tonnes of textiles were used in the EU last year, but only 2.8 million tonnes of textile waste were properly recycled. This has a huge negative impact on our air. If not dealt with proactively, the eventual consequences will be devoured by mankind. This is why the EU has established five textile waste recycling centres, a very large scale coordination mechanism to collect, sort and dispose of these huge amounts of textile waste specifically to eliminate the environmental and economic hazards they may bring to the EU region in the future.
The European Federation of the Garment and Textile Industries has high hopes that the newly established textile waste collection and treatment centres in five separate countries will be able to collect and treat up to 48 to 55 million tonnes of textile waste in the EU region in five years' time.
The second part of the "ReHubs" programme focuses on the recycling of textile waste and aims to create a new market for second-hand textile materials in Europe. As much of the textile waste recovered in Europe each year is burnt in landfill, if more textile technologies could be developed to recycle these textiles, there would be less to burn and less to landfill. The European Clothing and Textile Industry Federation is currently looking for partners to help implement the second part of the scheme, so the exact timeframe for implementation has not been disclosed, but the success of the scheme would allow European countries to recycle more than one million tonnes of textile waste each year.