Reet Aus: World clothing plague starts with bad design | News

Today, Westerners can take solace in the fact that clothes that have been worn a few times can be delivered to developing countries. However, in reality, a significant portion of the clothing shipped there ends up in landfills (bearing in mind that the average EU citizen throws away 11 kg of fabric per year). Please give me).

“Clothes that end up in landfills in Estonia and are collected, for example, in Kenya or Africa, pose immense problems, ranging from environmental problems to the collapse of local fashion and textile sectors due to this cheap trash. As Aus said on ERR’s “Uudishimu tippkeskus” show: “We are essentially sending our own waste there, but nobody needs it in that amount,” she stressed.

2 solutions

Although the European Union has set a target for separate collection of textile waste by 2025, only a small portion of this waste can be reused and recycled in Estonia.

Garments must be aesthetically pleasing, so they are manufactured from a variety of materials, explains Aus. Subsequent separation is difficult and often impossible.

“We always discuss waste management issues, but we need to discuss design issues. Why design an item that you can’t do anything about later?”

To put pressure on producers, environmentally conscious consumers should buy products made entirely of monofilament or with the highest possible percentage of one type of fibre. In Europe, pure cotton textiles are relatively easy to recycle chemically and mechanically, says Aus. At least 90% of her monofiber is incorporated into her own designs manufactured from by-products of the textile industry. The length of the cotton fiber shortens with each circle, but it can be used repeatedly.

The professor said it is currently difficult to find the right way to produce yarn from raw materials, i.e. recycled fabrics. In addition, it can be a yarn that is ideal for testing, but not suitable for mass production.I can understand why many brands want to produce a product that can.The need to invest in this kind of product development No,” explains Aus.

A competitive solution in the local market is not certain, but she and her colleagues are now working with Latvian researchers.

However, consumers should keep in mind that removing labels from clothing makes recycling much more difficult.

Value-based recycling is an easy-to-implement additional way to reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion industry. Simply put, clothing is made from very few parts. What remains today in the manufacture of textiles. “Most importantly, industrial value-added recycling helps reduce waste in large-scale industries and reduces environmental impact. Such products have a near-zero environmental footprint because , because the largest environmental footprint comes from the production of products: clothing,” Aus said.

Future of self-sufficiency and circular economy in Estonia

In the long term, local textile manufacturing also contributes to reducing our environmental impact. The production of cotton is inherently particularly water intensive, as is the production of oily fibres. Up to 10,000 liters are required to make 1 kg of cotton fiber.

“We have many local materials that we have used historically, such as flax. Sadly, the flax industry has disappeared. Hemp grows well in our climate. We have sheep, we have enough capacity to produce high-quality clothing, for 1.3 million people, in addition to a recycling industry that is also very active in the region,” Aus said.

Finland, for example, is about 15 years ahead of Estonia in developing such self-sufficiency, she added.

But even while looking for eco-friendly alternatives, I advise people to consider whether the emotional impact of buying new clothing is really worth it.

“Despite buzz around the circular economy and sustainability, mass production continues to expand and fast fashion businesses are making substantial profits. It is often caused by the low prices achieved through reductions, it’s very simple: I buy jeans for 19 euros every two months, but jeans for 300 euros are not what most people buy .

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