The UK fashion sector is already on trend to miss 2020 waste targets

23rd December 2019 | Recycling

The United Kingdom’s fashion industry is not cutting waste fast enough to hit its December 2020 target of a 3.5 percent reduction, the Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP) admitted Thursday. According to a progress report from the WRAP’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020 (SCAP 2020) commitment, supply chain waste has dropped only by 1.4 percent against the 2012 baseline, WRAP admitted.

SCAP 2020 is a voluntary initiative by WRAP and the fashion sector to reduce carbon, water and waste across the life cycle of clothing. Although more progress has ben made on cutting water use and carbon emissions, the industry is set to miss its waste targets without urgent action.

Fashion Sector

As well as sluggish progress on supply chain waste, the amount of textile waste sent to landfill has dropped only by 4 per cent since 2012, far short of the 15 percent target set under the SCAP. The data revealed waste in this category actually has increased since 2015, when it had dropped by 14 per cent on 2012 levels.

WRAP cited population growth, rising consumption levels, lack of collection infrastructure and the length of time people kept clothes as reasons for the slow progress on waste. UK consumers buy more clothes by volume than anywhere else in Europe. The rise of fast fashion means many items are only worn a handful of times before being discarded, often in landfill. Last year, UK consumers sent 300,000 tonnes of textiles to be burned or dumped in landfill.

Peter Maddox, director of WRAP, admitted getting people to change their behaviour around fashion is “challenging”. “The next few years will be an interesting time for the sector,” he said. “As well as the economic context and trends in fashion, we have EU exit and increased sector scrutiny that may all shape the future for UK fashion.”

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