Textile Industry: Transition to a Circular Economy Model
Fabrics are an essential and integral part of all human activities. They are not only used for clothing purposes but also used for bed linen, towels, upholstery, curtains, etc. Off late the specialized fabrics are also being used for reinforcement of constructions and structures. Due to increased demand for various types of fabrics for diverse applications, synthetic and chemically derived fabrics are also being produced in quantities amounting to millions of metric tons all across the world. In the past two decades, the demand and sales of clothing have almost doubled. This trend is continuing and the global consumption of apparel is projected to increase by nearly forty million tons in the coming decade with a concomitant increase in the by-product and waste generation. As a result of textile manufacture, packaging and usage, wastage amounting to millions of tons is being generated annually all across the world. Moreover, there is a reduction in the frequency of garment wearing and an increase in the rate of discarding of the used apparel and textiles and this is mainly happening due to fast-evolving fashion sense, rapid changes in the style quotients and low pricing of production. It has been previously estimated that only 18% of the total clothing mass is reused and recycled while substantially high quantity amounting to 57% is being discarded into the landfills. Another study estimated that the global fiber production is 53 million tons out of which only 12 % is recycled and the rest is discarded.