13 June 2023
Press release published on behalf of Australian Fashion Council and WRAP Asia Pacific
Today, some of Australia’s major fashion and clothing brands have committed to be foundation members of a national stewardship scheme that aims to make Australian fashion and clothing truly circular, and significantly reduce the 200,000 tonnes of clothing that currently goes to Australian landfill each year
Launched by the Minister for Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, the National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme design and the Roadmap to Clothing Circularity, will drive the industry towards clothing circularity by 2030 through:
● Incentivising clothing design that is more durable, repairable, sustainable and recyclable.
● Fostering new circular business models for Australian fashion based on reuse, repair, re-manufacturing and rental.
● Expanding clothing collection and sorting for effective re-use and to ensure non-wearable clothes are recycled into new high value products and materials.
● Encouraging citizen behaviour change for clothing acquisition, use, care and disposal.
A stewardship approach recognises that the fashion and clothing brands who place clothes on the market are responsible for the entire life of that garment, from design through to recycling or sustainable disposal.
The foundation members of the National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme, Seamless, are BIG W, David Jones, Lorna Jane, Rip Curl, R.M. Williams and THE ICONIC. Each organisation has committed $100,000 to fund a 12-month transition phase while the Seamless scheme is established.
The NSW Environment Protection Authority is also contributing $100,000 to the transition phase as a supporting partner.
The scheme design report released today recommends that Seamless is funded by a 4 cent per garment levy paid by clothing brands and retailers who become members of the scheme. If 60% of the market by volume sign up to the scheme, a funding pool of $36 million will be raised per year to transform the industry.
If industry signs up to the scheme, the activities driven by Seamless, stakeholders and citizens are projected to divert 60% of end-of-life clothing from landfill by 2027.
Seamless was created by a Consortium led by the Australian Fashion Council with Charitable Recycling Australia, Queensland University of Technology, Sustainable Resource Use and WRAP Asia Pacific.
The scheme design is the result of significant research and analysis, and extensive discussions with stakeholders across the value chain including clothing brands, retailers, charities, recyclers and government agencies.
The Australian Government provided funding for the scheme design.
Leila Naja Hibri, CEO of the Australian Fashion Council, said: "Seamless is the industry’s response to its clothing waste problem, that will change the way Australians make, consume and recycle their clothes.
“Today, some of our industry’s most pioneering and progressive brands and retailers are uniting to do what no single business, organisation or even government can do alone.”
“Seamless will guide the transition from the current unsustainable linear model of take, make and dispose, to a circular economy of reduce, reuse and recycle.” “
We need to start transitioning to the wardrobe of the future, where clothes are acquired differently, loved for longer and recirculated with care. This systematic and seismic transformation will require courage, creativity and most importantly, collaboration.”
“We need to act now. Our industry, and most importantly our planet, depends on it.”
Claire Kneller, Managing Director at WRAP Asia Pacific, said: “WRAP is delighted to have worked as part of this consortium, as led by the Australian Fashion Council, which has seen some huge names in the Australian fashion world pledge to improve the circularity of their clothing.
Being part of this puts WRAP on the map as a global player in making the textiles industry more sustainable; WRAP has the blueprint on how to make this possible and we hope to share our insights on an international level.
We are encouraging and supporting brands to be accountable for the entire lifecycle of their products, from design to recycling or sustainable disposal.”
Notes to Editor
About the Australian Fashion Council
The Australian Fashion Council (AFC) is the peak body for the Australian fashion and textile industry (also known as Textile, Clothing and Footwear - TCF), having represented and served the industry for over 65 years. The AFC’s aim is to guide the just transformation of our industry to a socially, environmentally, and economically prosperous circular economy by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.
About WRAP Asia Pacific
WRAP Asia-Pacific enables WRAP to expand its ground-breaking work in the region on food, plastics, and textiles, as well as supporting its partners in the shift to a circular economy.
The base reaches beyond the immediate boundaries of Australia, acting as a centre for work across the Asia-Pacific region including countries such as China, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, the Pacific Islands, and New Zealand.
WRAP is a climate action NGO working around the globe to tackle the causes of the climate crisis and give the planet a sustainable future. Our vision is a thriving world in which climate change is no longer a problem. We believe that our natural resources should not be wasted and that everything we use should be re-used and recycled. We bring together and work with governments, businesses and individuals to ensure that the world’s natural resources are used more sustainably. Our core purpose is to help tackle climate change and protect our planet by changing the way things are produced, consumed and disposed of.
We support partner NGOs around the world to deliver real change through collaboration and progress from over 300 of the world’s largest businesses. Initiatives we support include: Plastics Pacts in Chile, Kenya and India; food waste agreements in Mexico, South Africa and Indonesia; and food waste citizen campaigns through our Love Food Hate Waste brand in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.