It’s official, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has included Clothing textiles waste in the National Priority Waste List.

Following the National Clothing Textiles Waste Roundtable, May 2021, there has been a surge of attention from the Federal, State, and Local Governments to assess the resource recovery markets with a specific focus on Clothing Textiles Waste.

Clothing and apparel is a topic that sparked interest with the Ministers’ office in 2019, since personally meeting with the Minister’s Advisor that year, not only has the communities awareness continued to grow, but the Minister’s understanding for the emerging ‘modern’ waste stream quickly gained momentum.

As Clothing Textiles Waste now features on the National Priority Waste List, with tentative targets and a goal to see actions over the coming years, what does this mean for the industry?

ACTA believes, (in addition to our current State Government projects), a significant amount of groundwork needs to be conducted to completely comprehend the current state of the industry. Whilst ACTA has uncovered staggering new figures on textile consumption in Australia, there remains an alarming amount of data and research still unknown in the clothing and apparel industry.

Tentatively, we have begun to plot where key movers align across the textile sector, and how/what engagement could look like to ensure motivation to achieve systemic change could look like.

It may also be worth considering, that Product Stewardship for clothing and apparel is not the best model. But rather, Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) could be… These are hypotheses until qualitative and quantitative business cases can be established.

Practically everyone in the supply chain has a part to play – it’s a cooperative effort between private industry and government.

The reference to ACTA’s National Uniform and Workwear Stewardship Program – Circular Threads – under Action 2, is currently underway. We are currently developing the business case for the industry to offer a functional National stewardship scheme, then progressing to developing the scheme itself. These major pieces of work are due for completion end of 2022. The program’s findings are a test case for fellow apparel industry stakeholders, where learnings and insights will be disseminated to fast-track progress in the fashion space. To read an overview of the program please download it > HERE.

Whilst post-consumer clothing remains a key focus – this is far bigger than fashion! It is ACTA’s mission is to amplify and lead a prosperous, accountable apparel and textiles industry, as we strive towards a circular textile economy by 2030.

For more information on the Minister’s Waste List, you can read it all here: Minister’s Priority List 2021-22.

To read ACTA’s full summary of the National Clothing and Textiles Roundtable, check it out now Australia’s first Clothing and Textiles Waste Roundtable

ACTA is leading the first textile apparel Product Stewardship Scheme in Australia (as highlighted in Action 2, you can read more on Circular Threads here.