Making a Change via Recycling Fabrics
by Isetan Kuala Lumpur | 2nd August 2023
Fabric Waste is the 2nd most significant polluting industry in the world. Textile waste takes up about 5% of global landfills. Moreover, textile waste is generated in almost every manufacturing process through soft (produced from drawing, spinning and combing) and hard (through weaving, knitting, and twisting) waste.
Besides this, consuming textile waste is formed from the beginning phase of the supply chain. To envision this, 15% of fabric usage in garment production is regularly wasted. Apart from production waste, other reasons for textile wastage are fast fashion, the lack of awareness about sustainability, and the consumers’ lack of knowledge about textile care and maintenance.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT MADE BY ISETAN KL
In Malaysia, an average resident emits approximately 21kg of CO2 – e into the atmosphere per day.
Kloth Circularity, a woman lead social enterprise, is committed to create positive impacts for the environment, social and economy that is aligned with sustainable development goals. Kloth has been responsible for collecting and recycling of over 4 mil kg of textiles and clothing since August 2018. In addition, they have been awarded by APAC Insider South East Asia business Awards in 2022 for the Best Fabric Circular Economy.
Isetan Kuala Lumpur set up each fabric collection site at their I-club counters with the help of Kloth Circularity program, “Kloth Cares”. They are located at Isetan KLCC, The Gardens and The Japan Store, Lot 10 respectively.
As a result, Isetan KLCC collected 423.5kg, while The Japan Store, Lot 10 collected 88.2kg and last The Gardens collected 124.3kg of recycled textiles. In total, 626kg of textiles were diverted from landfill on 1st June to 23rd July 2023. This has helped to avoid 1,421 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions, which is equivalent to preventing their emission for 68 days.
These statistics were certified and calculated by Life Line Clothing Malaysia SDN BHD.
UPCYCLING – FROM TRASH TO TREASURE
Upcycling is the practice of taking waste or old materials, objects, or products and transforming them into new items of higher value and quality.
Fabrics that are curated from degradable materials such as linen, cotton, and silk can be upcycled into a value- added product. Additionally, synthetic textiles can be upcycled into building blocks and compounds used in soundproofing materials and construction.
Textiles can take up to 2,649 litres of water just to produce a cotton shirt and about 27,570 litres to fabricate a single pair of jeans — equivalent to drinking 8 glasses of water per day for 10 years. Additionally, 85% of textiles are likely to end up in a landfill where they will be burned and dumped in a landfill every second of the day. For imagery purposes, that would be a yearly loss of over $100 billion worth of materials.
Moreover, textile dyeing is the 2nd largest polluter of water; since the remains of the process are often dumped into our water sources internationally. For visualization, that would be approximately 2 million Olympic-sized pools per year.
Upcycling these textile materials can contribute significantly to the reduction of these statistics. Results from Isetan Kuala Lumpur over a short period of time provide evidence that every small effort matters.