Dissanayake, D. G. K. and Sinha, Pammi (2012) Sustainable Waste Management Strategies in the Fashion Industry Sector. International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, 8 (1). pp. 77-90. ISSN 1832-2077

The environmental impact of production and consumption has been addressed globally since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit; and in 2002 at the Johannesburg World Summit a 10-year framework was developed to promote sustainable production and consumption patterns (Ferrara and Serret, 2008). Agenda 21 from the Rio Earth Summit highlighted the fact that sustainable consumption is an issue that needs to be addressed in terms of waste reduction, resource conversion, and control of pollution. Section II of the framework focuses on waste management: minimising waste and maximising reuse and recycling of environmentally sound waste.

Fashion consumption and sustainability are often opposing ideas. Fashion consumption is a highly resource-intensive, wasteful practice; and sustainability frowns on wasteful consumption. Sustainability in the fashion business is still an emerging agenda, not yet established, and many authors have recognised the importance of investigating how sustainability could be achieved (Young et al 2004, Pears 2006, Fletcher 2008). Reuse or recycling of discarded fashion items reduces the environmental impact significantly compared to the purchase of new fashion products. It has been found that approximately 65kWh of energy is saved for every kilogram of cotton replaced by used clothing, and 90 kWh of energy is saved for every kilogram of polyester replaced (Woolridge et al, 2006). Additionally, closing the materials and product cycles is becoming an increasingly important aspect of any recovery option (Michaud and Llerena, 2006).

In order to understand how the clothing end-of-life management is practically handled in the UK, this study examined the current processes and strategies within the UK to utilizing textile wastes with the aim of reducing the volume of textiles and clothing sent to landfill. Based on the study, this paper presents an overview of three end-of-life waste management strategies: reusing, recycling and refashioning. We discuss the advantages and implications of each strategy and conclude by providing recommendations for the development of waste diversion programs and sustainable business models.

Sustainable Waste Management Strategies in the Fashion Industry Sector
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