Clothing Recycling Programme

Green Initiatives, a nonprofit organisation that aims to minimise or reverse the environmental degradation in China brought about by economic growth, have launched their new initiative, The Fibre Project. It is Shanghai’s first closedloop clothing and shoes recycling project.
Christmas and New Year is a time when you might find your wardrobe swamped with new items from generous friends and family members or sale shopping. But before you throw all your old, unwanted items into the rubbish, think twice about the environmental problems caused by textile waste through landfill sites and incineration. Green Initiatives told Talk that in 2013, Shanghai alone produced approximately 130000 tons of textile waste, with typically 85% ending up in landfills and incinerators even though more than 90% is recyclable. Furthermore, at least 50% of the clothes we discard are reusable. That is why they have created a programme to collect these unwanted items and send them away to be reused, recycled or upcycled.
Thanks to Green Initiatives’ partnership with Element Fresh, Unigroup Relocations and Urbn Hotels, the local community in Shanghai is now able to do their bit to help the environment by recycling their clothing. Due to the sponsorship and support from these local businesses, the logistics of the project and collection points for the clothing are taken care of. The items are then sent to I:CO, a Swissbased clothing recycler, where they will be sorted into re-wearable clothing for people in need, re-useable items, where such things as t-shirts and sweatshirts are turned into cleaning cloths, recyclable textiles, which are no longer suitable for clothing, are converted into fibres for use as insulation material or upcycling, where recycled fibres can be spun into new yarn. I:CO is involved in numerous clothing recycling projects around the world; The Fibre Project is the first in China. Their goal is to create a closed-loop where nothing is wasted and everything is either reused or recycled.
Green Initiatives plan to gradually scale up the project at strategic locations over the next twelve months to make the program more accessible to Shanghai residents. Currently, it is possible to deposit clothes at Urbn Hotel and five Element Fresh locations: Shanghai Centre, Super Brand Mall, Yueda 889, Gubei Garden Plaza and Jinqiao. Items being accepted include all kinds of clothing, bedding, curtains, shoes, socks, napkins and towels, so long as they are not soiled, have a bad odour or are tainted with hazardous substances. The project also hopes that by getting the local community to think about how these discarded pieces of clothing negatively affect the environment, they may become more conscientious about textile wastage when considering whether or not to buy new clothing.

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