Sustainable textile and circular economy: paradigm changing
Authors: Fernando Moreira da Silva
Abstract: To address sustainability is to talk about empathy and exhaustible natural resources, i.e., to adhere to attitudes in the present that can avoid future scarcity. The more we consume, the more we produce. The more it is produced, the greater the negative impact on nature and the frequency of disposal, promoting damage to the soil and, consequently, to ourselves, one of the fast fashion problems. The circular economy is based on a sustainable attitude and the concept of the five R's: rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle materials and energy. The objective of the circular economy is, therefore, to promote socio-environmental responsibility actions among people, whether individuals or legal entities, understanding that nothing has a definitive end. Among the various R's of the circular economy, this research project focuses on recycling, which means reusing a product so that another object can be manufactured from it, such as the textile product. In this sense, several sustainable actions involving the circular economy have been taken by the regulatory bodies of the textile industry and by the fabric manufacturers themselves. The idea is to collaborate with the conception, structuring and execution of projects that aim to carry out ecologically correct activities. With the worsening of the environmental crisis and the urgent need to implement Sustainable Development, companies have felt greater pressure to integrate sustainability into their business, namely companies in the Textile and Clothing Industry, whose environmental and social impact is notorious. Although the value attributed to sustainable practices depends on the business model and vision of the companies, the textile industry is an industry in which sustainability is of special importance. From material selection to product disposal, the value chain has a significant environmental and social impact, namely related to: the use of toxic chemicals in the dyeing process; the high energy consumption and working conditions in the confection; the high amounts of greenhouse gases emitted in transport; in addition to the disposal of clothing in landfills and incineration. The main objective of this ongoing research project is to understand and to underline the importance of sustainability and the circular economy in textile production, as perceived by young designers and fashion students, as well as by consumers of recycled textile products. For this, a mixed methodology composed of literature review and survey was used. This paper presents the results achieved so far, which show awareness on the part of the different groups that took part in the study, but also the difficulties and challenges faced by the implementation of sustainable measures in the practice of recycling textile products.
Keywords: Sustainable textile, Circular economy, Textile and clothing industry
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