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Action plan for sustainable clothing launched

March 27, 2009 at 2:31 pm

Last month saw the start of London Fashion Week and the industry looks all set to tackle its environmental footprint, with the launch of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan, involving some 300 organisations from High Street retail outlets to designers and textile manufacturers.

The fashion industry has long been criticised for its throw away culture and is responsible for one and a half million tons of unwanted clothing ending up in landfill sites each year. In addition, it produces over 3 million tons of CO2, 70 million tons of waste water, and 2 million tons of waste.

The Action Plan will tackle four key areas:

  1. Improvement in sustainable design, fabrics and fibres, optimising re-use and recycling of clothes and issues around the cleaning of clothes
  2. Raising public awareness of the sustainability of clothes through education and the media
  3. Promoting markets for sustainable clothing
  4. Improved traceability across the entire supply chain

The Association of Charity Shops will be increasing the number of boutiques selling nearly-new clothes and sustainably designed new clothes, whilst big names such as Marks and Spencer and Tesco are increasing the amount of Fair Trade and Organic ranges and educating the public about the environmental benefits of using a 30 degree wash cycle.

Tesco and Adili, an online retailer, are working towards labelling certain items with a carbon footprint indicator, so that consumers can make educated choices in what they buy.

For further details of the Clothing Roadmap, see the website for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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