Many people don’t know that the global garment industry generates 92 million tonnes of textile waste, 80% of which is primarily disposed of in landfill – and it’s sad to say that Australia is one of the worst countries for throwing away unwanted clothes. It is estimated that Australians send 501 million kilograms of clothing to landfill every year. What is even more concerning is that on average, Australians buy 27kg of clothing each year – and by the end of the year, 23kg of that is thrown away, with four out of ten people binning unwanted clothing rather than repairing or recycling it.
We can and should be doing better and every one of us is part of the solution.
Another key part of the solution is recycling and re-homing of unwanted items rather than throwing them out, and SCRgroup – Australia’s largest and most innovative company for the recovery of Australia’s unwanted clothing – is one organisation making strides in this area. Their business model is based on maximising their social and environmental impact, working with various charities, schools, shopping centres, private organisations, retailers and local governments to maximise their social and environmental impact.
Each year SCRgroup diverts over 18 million kilograms of clothing from landfill and instead find new homes for them, giving them a second life in local and global communities where they are needed most. What can’t be reused is either turned into rags or converted into an alternate fuel called biofuel, however the majority, at least 70% of what is collected is rehomed.
There are over 1600 SRgroup collection hubs around Australia, which are visited by more than 2 million Australians. They also offer pop up drive-thru recycling days, Thread Collect, a free home pick-up service run with participating councils and pop-up stations that can remain in their locations for 3 months. SCRgroup has also partnered with retailers to help find sustainable and tailored solutions for the management of aged and faulty stock. There are now a number of brands that are also incorporating recycled fibres and offering take-backs repair programs and doing their part in keeping unwanted clothes out of landfill.
It’s unrealistic to think that we’re all going to keep everything we own forever, but when the time comes that you really just don’t want to ever lay eyes on a piece of clothing again, there are a few ways that you can thoughtfully dispose of items. Reaching out to shelters and refuges to see if there are any items that they need is a great way to ensure your pre-loved pieces go where they are needed. Second hand sites and stores, as well as online marketplaces are also worth considering if you have quality pieces that you would like to get some money back on. And when your clothes finally reach the end of their time with you, a preloved clothing collection company such as SCRgroup will help you give them a second life. We can all do our part in helping reduce our environmental impact, and through using SCRgroup clothing donation hubs you also have a positive impact on social causes.