Spread the love

MELBOURNE – The average Australian buys 56 items of new clothing annually, according to a new study by an Australian Fashion Council (AFC) led consortium. In a welcome move towards transparency, the consortium released a Clothing Data Report and Global Scan Report this week as the first stage of the government funded National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme (NCPSS).

The Clothing Data Report reveals Australia currently imports 1.42 billion units of clothing annually – equating to 373,000 tonnes. Annual local production of clothing is around 10,000 tonnes annually.

This is Premium Content


Only user with Online and Print subscription can access this.


If you are a Free Subscriber, click here to upgrade.



If you already have Online or Print subscription Login To Unlock The Content!

The figures show Australians are currently some of the biggest consumers of clothing in the world, with the average person consuming 14.8kg or 56 items of new clothing annually.

AFC CEO Leila Naja Hibri said this research uncovers the data gaps that still exist in the fashion industry.

“These two reports provide us with a robust baseline in which to measure the progress and success of the NCPSS. We cannot underestimate the power of reliable data which will be a major influence on the Scheme formation and design.”

The reports also reveal the role of charity sector and its contribution to the reuse of clothing in Australia.

It suggests charities in Australia receive 190,000 tonnes of clothing annually, among the highest rates in developed countries. A further 20,000 tonnes is estimated to be reused through online sales platforms and family hand-me-downs.

“Australia’s reuse charities are already the biggest network diverting clothing from landfill and currently extend the life of AUS$527m worth of preloved clothes,” Omer Soker, consortium partner and Charitable Recycling Australia CEO, said.

“With data and evidence-informed reuse interventions, the NCPSS can further encourage consumers to donate and reuse clothing, and provide automated sorting and disassembly infrastructure needed to scale domestic onshore solutions, with better tracking and accreditation for clothing reuse overseas.”

The Global Scan Report, led by Dr Alice Payne of QUT, analyses clothing waste initiatives across 12 countries and technologies that can support a circular economy for clothing.

Its key learnings indicate that while Australia has a large number of SMEs as well as key leaders who have commenced circularity practices.

According to the Global Scan Report, Australia is a major natural fibre producer globally.

It is “the world’s largest producer of merino wool and the third largest exporter of cotton,” the report reads.

“We are in a fortunate position to be able to study the best clothing product stewardship schemes from around the world, in order to create a customised Australian NCPSS that is in a class of its own,” Hibri said.

“Rather than focus on product end of life processing, consumption and recycling, we are taking a holistic view of the value chain in the context of a circular economy, including the incorporation of circular business models, circular design fundamentals as well as industry and consumer behaviour change principles.

“Clearly this cannot be done without across-the-board industry buy-in and significant government support and backing.”

With phase one completed, the NCPSS Consortium will now start the next phase of co-design through targeted consultation and evidence gathering, with consideration across four technical areas: circular design, circular business models, closing the materials loop and consumer behaviour change.

This, together with further consultation with the NCPSS Reference and Working Groups as well as engagement with SMEs and First Nations voices, will form the next milestone to be reached by the end of 2022.

This is Premium Content


Only user with Online and Print subscription can access this.


If you are a Free Subscriber, click here to upgrade.



If you already have Online or Print subscription Login To Unlock The Content!


Spread the love