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Textile Waste & The 3R's: Textile Waste Strategy Recommendations For The City Of Toronto

Textile Waste & The 3R's: Textile Waste Strategy Recommendations For The City Of Toronto

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Title: Textile Waste & The 3R's: Textile Waste Strategy Recommendations For The City Of Toronto
Author: Thompson, Nicole
Identifier: MESMP02832
Abstract: The outsourcing of manufacturing to low-wage countries in concert with the rise of fast fashion business models has resulted in an abundance of low-cost and low-quality textile products. This has led to increased consumption and shortened product lifecycles, the consequence of which is increased textile waste. This waste stream generates environmental, economic, and social consequences in countries of both production and consumption. As such, it is necessary for municipalities, like the City of Toronto, to adopt a comprehensive textile recycling strategy to divert these materials from landfills. The 3R Waste Hierarchy provides a framework on which to model such a strategy. Strategies based on the 3R components of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle help to minimize the amount of waste disposed while conserving natural resources and extracting the maximum value out of already produced products. The first component, Reduce, focuses on changing consumption habits to prevent the creation of waste, and in the context of textile waste aim to move consumers away from the purchase of fast fashion products. The fast fashion retail model is premised on introducing new products to stores as quickly as possible. In this model, clothing quickly becomes outdated or falls apart, leading to disposal. The second component, Reuse, focuses on using an item again and prolonging its life. Textiles can be sold or donated to second-hand retailers to be used by a new owner. Thrift stores comprise the largest portion of the second-hand market. They accept donations of used clothing, which are then sold in their retail stores or to for-profit recyclers to generate revenue. Lack of information is a major barrier to the success of reuse strategies. Consumers generally do not understand what can be donated, choosing instead to throw away items they thought donation centres would not accept. The final component, Recycle, involves recovering the valuable raw materials from a product and utilizing these as inputs into a new product. Mechanical and chemical textile recycling processes are used to break down textiles and produce new fibres. Depending on the process, the resulting fibres are either of lower or same quality as the original fibres, and can be utilized for a variety of applications. For each 3R component, strategies to address textile waste are identified and evaluated according to their potential efficiency, effectiveness, and feasibility. Textile handling and collection strategies are also analyzed using the same criteria. Accordingly, to address its textile waste, the City of Toronto is recommended to introduce voluntary reduction strategies, such as textile collection boxes and green procurement, and education campaigns. Over time the City should move towards full compliance using by-laws mandating building diversion levels and landfill bans. By implementing such a strategy, the City of Toronto can address the impact of its textile waste, and serve as a model for other Canadian municipalities looking to do the same.
Type: Major paper
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/34835
Citation: Major Paper, Master of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
Date: 2017

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