A Roadmap Towards Clothing Circularity in Australia

A Roadmap Towards Clothing Circularity in Australia

Seamless, the National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme, is on a mission 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. Designed by a consortium led by the Australian Fashion Council, this ambitious project aims to transform the industry with sustainability and responsible practices at its core.

The National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme will be in the spotlight at the upcoming Global Sourcing Expo at the International Convention Centre in Sydney from 11-13 July 2023, where AFC Project Director Danielle Kent will lead a Global Sourcing Seminar panel on how the Scheme will provide a roadmap to circularity in Australia by 2030.

This represents a significant stride towards achieving clothing circularity in Australia. Both the Seamless scheme design and the Roadmap to Clothing Circularity were launched at an event attended by the Minister for Environment and Water, Tanya Plibersek, last month.

One priority of the scheme is to encourage clothing design that prioritises durability, repairability, sustainability, and recyclability. By incentivising brands to adopt circular design practices, the scheme aims to ensure that clothing items have a longer lifespan and are less likely to end up in landfill.

Fostering circular business models

Seamless also aims to foster new circular business models within the Australian fashion industry. These models will be based on reuse, repair, re-manufacturing, and rental. By promoting alternative revenue streams and encouraging brands to embrace circularity, the scheme seeks to shift the industry away from the traditional linear model of take, make and dispose.

To facilitate effective reuse and recycling, Seamless advocates for the expansion of clothing collection and sorting practices. This involves establishing robust systems for gathering non-wearable clothes and redirecting them towards the creation of new high-value products and materials. By maximising the potential of clothing waste, the scheme aims to reduce its impact on the environment.

Seamless recognises that achieving clothing circularity requires a collaborative effort involving all stakeholders, including consumers. The scheme emphasises the need for widespread citizen behaviour change regarding clothing acquisition, use, care, and disposal. By raising awareness and promoting sustainable practices among individuals, the Scheme seeks to foster a collective mindset shift towards responsible clothing consumption.

Founding members helping to make the goal a reality

Seamless boasts an impressive roster of foundation members – they are renowned brands and retailers 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 during the establishment of the Seamless scheme. Additionally, the NSW Environment Protection Authority is contributing an additional $100,000 as a supporting partner.

The scheme design report recommends funding Seamless through 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 signs up, the scheme will raise a funding pool of $36 million annually, enabling the transformation of the industry.

The vision of a circular clothing economy

Seamless is set to propel the Australian fashion and clothing industry towards a clothing circular economy. This shift entails moving away from the current linear model of ‘take, make, and dispose’ and instead embracing a ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ approach. A circular clothing industry in Australia would embed responsible stewardship and citizenship across the entire lifecycle of clothing.

By adopting circular practices, the industry can minimise waste, prolong the lifespan of clothing items, and reduce the environmental impact associated with production and disposal. Achieving this transition requires collaborative efforts and the commitment of all stakeholders to embrace change.

The industry-leading brands and retailers that have pledged their support, along with the backing of the Australian Fashion Council and partnering organisations, demonstrate a united front in tackling the clothing waste problem.

With courage, creativity, and collaboration, Seamless will guide the industry towards a future where clothes are acquired differently, cherished for longer, and recirculated with care. The time to act is now, and Seamless serves as the catalyst for a sustainable and circular clothing industry in Australia.

Learn more about Seamless by attending the Global Sourcing Expo or by visiting: https://ausfashioncouncil.com/seamless-a-just-transformation-to-clothing-circularity/