A circular economy begins with good design, that’s why designing for circularity is one of three priority action areas in the Textiles 2030 Circularity Roadmap.
It requires businesses to look at every phase of a product’s lifecycle and create items that are made with safe and low impact materials, designed to be used for as long as possible – by their original owner as well as by multiple owners through circular business models – and that can be remade or recycled at the end of their usable life.
A case for change.
The decisions made at the design and development stage have huge impacts on a product’s environmental footprint throughout its entire lifecycle – from the raw materials used, to how it is manufactured, the length of time it is kept in use and what happens to it when it is no longer desired by its owner or cannot be used any more. In fact, as much as 80% of a product’s impact is determined at the design stage.
By designing products for circularity now, designers play a key role in catalysing the development, commercialisation and scaling up of alternative business models, new infrastructure and innovation. There are huge environmental ‘wins’ to be had, with WRAP’s scenario modelling indicating that designing for circularity could enable over half the impact reductions we need to reduce the industry’s carbon and water footprints by 50% by 2030.
The truth is that our current cycle of take, make, use and dispose won’t be possible forever and if policy interventions do not force the hands of businesses, climate change and resource depletion will.
Businesses have the opportunity to do things differently by driving sustainable growth, harnessing creativity and leading the pack. It's what discerning investors and conscious consumers are calling for, with 55% of people now considering clothing's environmental impact as severe and exercising their power by voting with their money. Businesses will need to meet these needs, or face being wiped out by more agile and adaptable competitors.
Projects we are working on with partners.
Find out how we are working with businesses to agree good practice design principles and implement them as appropriate to their products ranges.
Design for Recyclability Workshops
Designing products that are recyclable at the end of their life is difficult. WRAP ran a series of workshops in partnership with the Circular Textiles Foundation, the University of the Arts London and some of the leading fibre-to-fibre recyclers in the sector to help brands and retailers redesign some of their best-selling products so that they can be recycled.
Durability Research Project
WRAP has pioneered thinking in durability for over a decade with our Clothing Longevity Protocol. We are now working with the Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour and our Textiles 2030 signatories on an industry-leading research project to create updated durability protocols for clothing and textiles and industry-first benchmarks for durability and utilisation.
Guidance and resources for businesses.
The possibilities and opportunities for circular design are only limited by our own imaginations. Access free resources that will encourage you to be curious, think about your business’ processes, ask questions and innovate.
Circular design toolkit for fashion and textiles
A toolkit to help businesses bring lower impact products to the marketplace.
Citizen insights on home textiles
Home textiles insights including how many items UK consumers own and our in-use habits.
Citizen insights on clothing
Understanding how customers purchase, use and dispose of clothing will be key to circular design decisions.
Extending clothing life protocol
Guidelines to help you develop and supply garments designed and manufactured for a longer life.
Design for extending clothing life
Product-specific guidance on extending clothing life for designers, buyers and retailers.
Introduction to recycled polyester
This bitesize guide is for brands looking to shift to more sustainable forms of polyester.
Introduction to more sustainable viscose
This bitesize guide is for brands looking to integrate more sustainable forms of viscose into products.
Introduction to more sustainable cotton
This bitesize guide is for brands looking to integrate more sustainable forms of cotton into products.
The impacts of wet processing: Pre-treatment
A summary of the key environmental impacts of common pre-treatment techniques.
The impacts of wet processing: Dyeing
A summary of the key environmental impacts of common dye techniques and lower impact alternatives.
The impacts of wet processing: Printing
A summary of the key environmental impacts of printing processes and techniques.
The impacts of wet processing: Finishing
A summary of the key environmental impacts of common finishing techniques and lower impact alternatives.
Need help turning ambition into action?
Become a member of Textiles 2030 and get peer-to-peer and expert support as you navigate the complexities of bringing lower impact products to the marketplace.