LONDON – More than a fifth of Londoners throw clothing in the bin rather than recycling, while 72 per cent have never heard of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The scale of the UK capital’s fashion waste problem is laid bare in a new survey by London Charity TRAID. It shows 23 per cent of Londoners’ wardrobes are unworn, equivalent to 123 million items of clothes. London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has put forward a vision for 65 per cent of London’s waste to be recycled by 2030, however, London’s recycling rates are among of the worst in the country.
TRAID is now calling on the fashion industry and retailers to turn the goal of more sustainable consumption and production into reality and end the huge fashion waste problem. Its report details how retailers can work with TRAID to engage customers, offer free home collection, and provide free workshops to prolong the life of clothes.
TRAID is also calling on the industry to champion the SDG Goal 12 – to ensure sustainable consumption and production.
While its report suggest Londoners succumb to fast fashion, the findings also show Londoners do want to change. It shows 24 per cent of Londoners (aged 18-24) buy new clothes every month while 46 per cent feel uninformed about the environmental benefits of keeping their clothes. 61 per cent of Londoners responding said they want to positively change.
Apparel Insider spoke to Andrea Speranza, campaign manager at TRAIDL We asked her, firstly, why Londoners appear to be so blasé about clothing, buying it and disposing of it?
She told us: “I don’t think Londoners are blasé about the negative impacts of fashion consumption. In fact, they care a lot. The problem is our unsustainable relationship with clothes and the lack of awareness of the real social and environmental costs of buying way more clothes than we need, while wearing them for shorter and shorter periods of time. This is fuelled by a fast fashion business model producing continuous cycles of trend led clothes, at incredibly cheap prices. The good news is that more and more retailers and brands are acknowledging this problem and embracing the need to move towards a circular business model.”
We also asked whether online ordering and its convenience is perhaps making the problem worse. She told Apparel Insider: “The evidence I think is still out on how much online shopping is driving consumption. What we need to do is focus on building awareness about the environmental costs of over consumption, and at the same time, make it key that reusing clothes is made as easy and convenient as possible. This includes using online platforms.”