Landfills aren’t exactly the sexiest things are they…..I always call landfills the lazy exit points. As producers of goods we should be thinking about the exit point of our product, and to be frank (‘see what I did there’) landfills are the fall-back, boring, ‘can’t be bothered’ option of bad product management.
The harsh truth is, clothing that ends up in landfills can sit there for over 200 years, majority will slowly decompose, however when it does, it emits methane, a greenhouse gas which is actually much more potent than carbon.
We work with a recycling plant in Turkey to make our t-shirts. They alone take in 800 tonnes of fabric cuttings which were destined for landfill. This fabric is the off cuts from a previous production run, this fabric has never been used, washed or worn. and, just to give you an idea of what that means,
(according to the WWF) it takes 20,000 litres of water to make 1 kilogram of cotton. Which means, that 800 tonnes of fabric (for arguments sake let’s say it’s all cotton) took 160 million litres of water to grow.
I’m going to continue this now by saying that it takes 2.47 acres of land to make 3 tonnes of cotton that 800 tonnes took 6 months of farming and 1976 acres of land, that’s way way way bigger than London. And all this water, time, money, effort and space… for it all to go to waste.
So instead, this recycling plant, by breaking the unused fabric down into fibre, re-spinning it, new fabric can be created from something destined for landfill.
Something to think about here…95% of textiles that are in landfills are cut offs from production runs, hardy worn clothes or fabric which has never even been touched, this could in fact all be recycled. So, if you think about it, that 95% of textiles from brands around the world, could actually be recycled. They are literally just throwing away money.