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Shanghai Program Educates Consumers on Eco-Responsible Fashion

China’s textile waste dilemma may be receiving a new sustainable solution.

On Feb. 16, Green Initiatives, a non-government institution, in collaboration with Community Center Shanghai and Crown Relocations, launched Re:Form, a new program that informs consumers about the negative impact of clothing consumption habits. Re:Form will help consumers engage in more eco-responsible fashion by hosting apparel recycling programs, launching creative campaigns and forging local affiliation partnerships. With the program, citizens can work together to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint.

Today, China manufacturers over 26 million tons of textile waste annually, which is a 400 percent increase from 20 years ago. According to Greenpeace data, three quarters of the nation’s textile waste ends up in landfills when 99 percent of discarded materials could be recycled and reused. Furthermore, when clothes are thrown away, their clothing dyes contaminate soil and contribute to air pollution.

Re:Form will tackle this ongoing environmental issue with its community outreach initiatives. By working together with nearby businesses, retailers and schools, Re:Form will place collection boxes at various locations in Shanghai for the public to drop off their used clothing. The program will also enable employees and students to volunteer at its action campaigns, clothing sorting activities and clothing collection drives.

Re:Form’s partners also play a big part in the program’s eco-responsible fashion movement. Since 2003, Community Center Shanghai has implemented the River of Hearts project, which donates used clothing items to disadvantaged communities in China. Crown Relocations provides logistics support for the program and other supporters, including Bonobo Jeans, have placed Re:Form boxes in their stores. From implementing Re:Form as a CSR program to allocating sustainable resources, companies, shops and education institutions could help minimize the nation’s textile waste contributions.

“Most people know that the use-and-throw culture is not sustainable but few people are taking the time to help solve it,” Green Initiatives founder and director Nitin Dani said. “That’s the main mission for Re:Form, to change attitudes through information and inspiration, and to promote action by providing a quick convenient way for organizations and individuals to contribute to the solution.”