What is Circular Textiles? And why is it important? To find out more, read on!
Firstly, what is circular economy in general?
The traditional linear economy revolves around a basic construct of - take, make, throw away - which can be incredibly resource intensive, wasteful and polluting to our environment. In contrast, circular economy creates products which are designed to be more durable, reusable, repairable, and recyclable, and therefore kept in circulation for as long as possible.
What does it mean in relation to textiles in Kirklees?
Kirklees is the original home of textiles recycling. Waste wool was collected from households and industry, shredded and ground into 'shoddy' and 'rag-wool' that was then made into new products and clothing. Gone is the prevalence of wool in most of our clothing today. Cotton and polyester are now dominant, closely followed by viscose and many combinations of blended synthetic fibres. This variation brings huge choice in material properties and styles, along with low cost production to the global textile market.
But what about textiles recycling now?
Exciting innovation is taking place around the world exploring fibre-to-fibre recycling technologies for the hundreds of blended fibres we wear. This will play an important role in future textiles recycling chains. But many 'waste' fabrics are discarded before they are truly worn out. We believe that it is essential to find the value in as many uses as possible, before materials end up in fibre-to-fibre recycling processes.
What does Thread Republic's Circular Textiles Initiative do differently?
We identify sources of textile waste in Kirklees and explore creative solutions for re-use. Keeping textiles in active use locally reduces waste and carbon emissions, benefits our textile industry and places value on material longevity, textile skills and creativity.
The first of these solutions comes in the form of our T-Shirt Yarn - made from waste fabric produced by Northern Dyers, created during the process of dyeing stretch fabric. We have collected this waste fabric, unravelled it and rolled into balls of yarn to create a useful item from a material which was destined for landfill. There are SO many uses for this yarn, including - textile projects such as macrame, weaving, rag rugging, jewellery making, knitting and crochet, as a replacement for string or ribbon around the home, gift wrapping, den building....the list is endless! It's available to purchase from our pop-up shop at Fair Trader until the end of March!
If you know about a textile waste stream produced in Kirklees, or need support with setting up a circular textiles initiative locally, please get in touch!