‘Recycling 100pc cotton waste can save $500m’

Special Correspondent

17 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh can save $500 million on cotton imports by recycling 100 percent of cotton waste, Circular Fashion Partnership findings revealed on Wednesday.

The findings revealed that if just the 100 percent cotton waste was recycled within Bangladesh, imports could decrease by around 15 percent, therefore saving half a billion US dollar that would have been spent on cotton imports.

The Circular Fashion Partnership is a cross-sectorial project led by Global Fashion Agenda, with partners Reverse Resources, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and P4G, that aims to achieve a long-term, scalable transition to a circular fashion system.

The research has found that Bangladesh has produced approximately 577,000 tonnes of waste just from the ready-made garments (RMG) and fabrics mills of which almost 250 thousand tonnes was 100 percent pure cotton waste in 2019.

It is estimated that factories in Bangladesh could sell this 100 percent cotton waste to the recycling market for up to $100 million.

Bangladesh is currently heavily reliant on the import of textile fibre. In 2019, the country imported 1.63 million tonnes of staple cotton fibre (with a value estimated to be $3.5 billion).

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam presented the keynote address at the event.

Ambassador of Bangladesh to Denmark M Allama Siddiki, Ambassador of Denmark to Bangladesh Winnie Estrup Petersen, BGMEA President Faruque Hassan, Global Fashion Agenda CEO Federica Marchionni, and Head of Recycling and Chief Project Officer of Reverse Resources, Nin Castle spoke the event and discussed the opportunities, how to overcome barriers to accelerate the transition to a circular industry and explore how Bangladesh can become a leader in circular fashion.

BGMEA President Faruque Hassan said, “The sustenance of the planet is now at risk and we cannot stay indifferent! We have to shift the linear economic model to circular. This is the future and we are committed to close the loop while achieving our strategic growth targets.”               

Global Fashion Agenda CEO Federica Marchionni said that These findings demonstrate that a circular fashion system could breed not only environmental but financial benefits for a country.

He hoped that the business model being developed in Bangladesh will be replicated in other countries around the world.

Reverse Resources Head of Recycling and Chief Project Officer Nin Castle said, "Bangladesh produces arguably the most recyclable textile waste of any apparel producing country. If a recycling industry is fostered now, it would enable the country to not only enjoy the obvious benefits of cost and carbon footprint reduction but also gain a massive competitive edge."

Over 50 brands, manufacturers, recyclers and NGOs have signed to take part in the Circular Fashion Partnership.

The partnership supports the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh by capturing and directing post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products.

In addition, the partnership has sought to find solutions for the COVID-19 related pile-up of dead stock and to engage regulators and investors around the current barriers and economic opportunities in the country.

The initiative has facilitated circular commercial collaborations between textile and garment manufacturers, recyclers and fashion brands operating in Bangladesh.

The Benetton, Fashion Cube, Gymshark, Kiabi, Next, Primark, The Very Group and Teddy SpA brands also joined the partnership on Wednesday.