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Textile Waste Still a Major Problem

With environmental concerns mounting in recent years, there is more pressure on companies to dispose of their waste using sustainable methods.

In its 2014 Sustainability Report, Swedish textile firm Lindstrom highlighted the issue of textile waste processes and argued that no matter the form of waste, global corporations should take an active role in ensuring it is disposed of in an environmentally safe way.

Lindstrom participated in the Finnish Environment Institute’s (SYKE) TEXJÄTE project, which examined textile flows in Finland and found that only about 23 percent of textile waste produced in Finland (70 kilograms) was recycled or reused. Just 6 percent of textiles donated to charities or recycling is used again as raw materials.

The company believes early planning is key to becoming more sustainable.

“In line with lifecycle thinking, products must only be manufactured from high-quality, durable materials, as needed, and their reuse must be considered already at the design phase,” the report noted. “Final disposal should merely serve as a conclusion for a lengthy lifecycle – not as a solution for textiles that have only served a single purpose.”

Lindstrom highlighted the Waste Framework Directive, part of the European Commission’s strategy on framing environmental laws, which works to promote the reuse and recycling of waste and ultimately prevent waste from ending up at landfill sites–a growing issue throughout Europe. The European Union is currently drafting legislation regarding textile waste.