Textiles | Waste Reduction Week in Canada

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Everyone has clothing and other items at home that aren’t getting the love and attention they deserve. Swap Events are a fun way for people to bring gently used clothing or small household items and swap them for ‘new’ items! Swap Events are also a great opportunity to have fun, get creative, meet your neighbours, and reduce waste.

The Ontario Textile Diversion Collaborative is a multi stakeholder group under the umbrella of Fashion Takes Action. OTDC is committed to minimizing the number of textiles going into landfill by increasing the rate of textile diversion and by encouraging the development of a textile recycling industry in Ontario. Our stakeholders include municipalities, academics, brand owners, retailers and industry organisations, NGOs, textile collectors and charities. OTDC has been funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Collective Impact grant.

This report outlines a vision for a system that works, delivering long-term benefits – a new textiles economy based on the principles of a circular economy. It offers a direction of travel on which the industry can agree and focus its efforts. In a new textiles economy, clothes, textiles, and fibres are kept at their highest value during use and re-enter the economy afterwards, never ending up as waste. This vision is distinct from, and complements, ongoing efforts to make the textiles system more sustainable by minimising its negative impacts.

Students at West Ferris Secondary School have been busy this week breathing new life into old items that would otherwise be thrown away.

The students have been collecting old clothes and other unwanted textiles for re-wear and reuse, while raising awareness about issues such as consumption and waste.

It’s all part of the I Give a Shirt Challenge, an initiative of the Recycling Council of Ontario and Value Village which is open to high schools in Ontario and British Columbia and offers prizes for collection, community engagement and social media efforts.

Canadians send more than 12 million tonnes of clothing and textiles into the waste stream every year – and that’s not a good look. As we shop, scroll, swipe, one-click-ship, like-to-buy and pre-order our way through life, it’s easy to forget that every single “new” purchase is part of the problem. Because, “What’s one more t-shirt?” Well, it takes 2,650 litres of water to make that shirt. “A new pair of jeans?” Add 6,800 litres more. Consumers are addicted to consumption without giving thought to the impact their apparel purchasing behaviours have on the planet.

A new report from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) is calling for major change in the fashion industry, as synthetic fibres from washed clothes are linked to ocean microplastics.According to IMechE, 35 per cent of microplastics released into our oceans come from synthetic textiles, with a typical 5kg wash load of polyester fabrics producing six million microfibres.

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