By Säntis and Kipas Textiles
What is the current state of the textiles industry and what does the future hold?
It is evident that there is increasing pressure on our industry to implement conscious practices through every step of the textile supply chain; as brands and consumers alike wake up to the importance of sustainable, and more importantly, circular production. This is the only way forward for the industry and health of our planet, but what state is the textiles industry currently in, and what exactly does the future hold?
There is a lot of work to be done for us to reach an acceptable position in the industry. Currently, the life cycle of garments and materials is far too linear, as the trend of fast fashion continues. This is emphasised by the fact that we are all using clothes less and less, yet sales are still high. Recent figures indicate that some garments are discarded after only seven or eight uses. We are seeing a rapid increase in clothing consumption on a whole, as well as a decline in the amount of use of individual items before discarding. This, combined with the fact that less than 1% of clothes are recycled into new garments, continues to paint a concerning picture for the current state of the industry.
Importance of Sustainable Production
If change is to happen, it must start with production processes and fostering a collective mindset unified in reaching one goal. This can be achieved in many ways, none more important than vastly increasing the amount of textile waste that is reused. We have embraced this through the development of RCO100 – the only commercialised technology on the market creating 100 % recycled cotton products using pre- and post-consumer cotton waste. RCO100 technology is the only technology which uses no bleach or chemicals to achieve our 100% recycled cotton. Innovation and circular practices are, and will continue to be, at the heart of everything we do. In partnership with Kipas Textiles, our Inspire initiative harnesses RCO100 technology to achieve the highest quality recycled products.
Ultimately, we need to be a fully circular industry, but just what exactly does circularity mean nowadays? To us, it is our business model in which the main objective is zero waste. Furthermore, it goes beyond production and considers forward-thinking ethical and design approaches. Circularity is not something we can achieve overnight, it requires dedication, education, and most importantly collaboration.
Over the last few years, it is obvious that circular and ethical manufacturing practices are not only beneficial environmentally, but also commercially. Consumer preferences are constantly evolving, and the importance of brands’ sustainable credentials has jumped to the top three key factors impacting purchasing decisions in the last years.
It is not just consumers who are putting sustainability on top of their agenda, also governments are putting pressure on businesses to revise operations and reducing their environmental footprint. The EU has made circularity their priority, with a strong focus on increasing waste prevention and recycling. A new EU Circular Economy Action Plan was released in March 2020 to achieve this, with the goal of making sustainable products within the EU the norm and try to reduce toxic and hazardous chemicals and microplastics within production.
The future of the textiles industry is bright, due to increasing discussions, awareness, and accountability. Säntis Textiles and Kipas Textiles, under our Inspire partnership, are proud to say that we are part of the <1% that recycles textile-textile directly. However, nothing will give us greater pride than to see that number increase, as brands begin to harness the power of circularity.