« BackNews: Should We Be Composting Clothing?

Should We Be Composting Clothing?


A report from the nonprofit Biomimicry Institute has stated that the fashion industry could operate as an ecosystem, creating a circular economy for our shirts, shorts, and shoes, and to start working with the apparel industry, rather than fighting against it.

According to a report by the BBC, in the US alone, 13 million tonnes of unwanted clothing was thrown away in 2017, and there is an estimated 92 million tonnes of textiles waste globally every year.

There are issues with microfibres. Approximately 60 per cent of textiles are made using fossil fuel-based synthetic fibres which are infamous for shedding thousands of tiny shreds with each wash. Polyester textiles make up about 35 per cent of the microfibre plastics that enter the oceans, and they have even been found in waterways, animal intestines, and even raindrops.

A new, alternative approach to apparel manufacturing sees an industry operating in a fully biological cycle. Fashion supply chains can mimic the energy flows within the environment, boost biodiversity, build soil, support communities and clean up pollution.

Replacing polyester with fully compostable fibres that are either grown or synthesised would allow waste textiles to be recycled using anaerobic digestion, and the biogas product can be put back into the circular system, allowing the fashion industry to function as part of an ecosystem.

While the idea might seem outlandish at the moment, it is this kind of forward-thinking that is needed to transition from a linear to a closed-loop and regenerative system.

If you need pressure vacuum relief valves as used in anaerobic digestion, get in touch today.