Textile waste a slow poison on city’s environment

M R Ravi, commissioner, Directorate of Handlooms and Textiles, inaugurated a seminar on textile waste management and recycling in the city on Thursday. DH PHOTO/SANDESH MS

The city administration may have declared a war against plastic, but the challenge of ‘textile waste’ is equally daunting, as it ends up in a landfill or gets incinerated.

A day-long seminar on ‘Textile Waste Management and Recycling’, organised by the Department of Handlooms and Textiles, Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, on Thursday discussed the impact of cloth waste on Bengaluru, home to several garment factories.

Effluence apart, experts taking part in the seminar also spoke about garment production that acts like slow poison on the environment.

They categorised the garment waste into pre- and post-consumer waste. While the pre-consumer waste is easier to reuse, the same cannot be said about post-consumer waste due to poor hygiene and the challenges involved in collecting them.

“The options are recycle, reuse or upcycle,” said Devaraja H, who spoke during the session on textile and apparel post-consumer waste management. “Most of these fabrics are a blend of several materials and so, they are not biodegradable in nature. People should (therefore) go for dress materials made of pure cotton. Like they go on food diets, they should also practice diet (moderation) over buying clothes,” he said.

Synthetic fibres like polyester used in garment making are non-biodegradable, while the dyes, printing pastes, finishing agents and auxiliary chemicals used in colouring and finishing are environmentally hazardous.

Kannan Krishnamurthy, another speaker, said latest fashion trends have also reduced the life cycle of clothing. “Any clothing should have a lifespan of 30 years if maintained properly. The fever for latest trends, however, has brought it down to not more than three years.” He said more than 95% of the garment waste that ends up in the landfill could be recycled.

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