(Australian Associated Press)
Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of plastic from Australia’s clothing industry ends in landfill every year.
The unpalatable problem has prompted stakeholders to gather in Canberra to find a more environmentally-friendly solution.
Australia’s inaugural National Roundtable on Clothing Textile Waste will be held on Wednesday, bringing together producers, retailers, academics, waste experts and charity representatives.
“We want to keep clothing out of landfill, where it can take hundreds of years to break down, releasing harmful carbon emissions along the way, and we do not want to bombard our charities with clothes that are not fit for reuse,” federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said.
“Clothing charities can be a great place to thrift shop, but they are not the place to send our tatty, pre-loved clothes that are barely hanging by a thread, and no amount of wishcycling will change that.”
Canberra is offering $1 million in grants to help applicants design a strategy to eliminate textile waste.
Australians discard close to 800,000 tonnes of clothing and textiles each year, at a rate of an average 15 tonnes every 10 minutes, the government said.
The nation’s consumption of textiles per person is second only to the United States, with each Australian consuming an average 27kg of new textiles each year and discarding about 23kg to landfill annually.