The Australian Fashion Council (AFC) are leading a consortium with members from Charitable Recycling Australia, Queensland University of Technology, Sustainable Resource Use and WRAP to create Australia’s first National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme.
This world class initiative aims to improve the design, recovery, reuse and recycling of textiles, providing a roadmap to 2030 for clothing circularity in Australia in line with National Waste Policy Action Plan targets.
A $1 million grant was announced on the 15th November 2021 by the Hon. Sussan Ley MP Minister for Environment and the Hon. Trevor Evans MP, Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction at the time. The grant was awarded through the National Product Stewardship Fund, which was launched following the first ever Industry Roundtable on Clothing Textile Waste hosted at Parliament in May 2021.
The National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme will identify, educate, empower and activate all stakeholders to better manage and improve environmental and human impacts of clothing products and materials. The outcome-oriented and measurable action plan towards a circular system will address four action points on the Minister’s Priority List 21-22, requiring coordinated action from the whole clothing eco-system from industry disruptors, brands, manufacturers and retailers through to reuse charities, fibre producers, academics, waste management companies and consumers.
The Global Scan Report provides learnings for Scheme design based on global best practices and a closed contextual understanding of Australia’s capacity for change. The report is in three parts and includes an overview of technologies and processes that can support a circular economy for clothing. Led by the Queensland University of Technology team: Alice Payne, with Paige Street, Annastasia Bousgas and Caitlan Hopper.
The data report aims to; understand the structure of the sector to ensure the scheme elements are efficient and fair to all; to provide a comprehensive understanding of the flow of clothing in order to frame the scheme actions for maximised effectiveness; and to act as an important baseline by which we can measure changes and successes. Led by the Sustainable Resource Use team: Peter Allan and Jill Allan.
The Scheme will deliver three key stages, launching in November 2021 and ending in March 2023: Mapping the current state through data & material flow analysis and stakeholder engagement to inform Scheme design; Co-developing the Scheme with industry through testing and building the evidence base; and operationalising the Scheme to be ready for a phased, national roll-out.
Key deliverables distributed to industry, community and government will include:
Global Scan Report - The Global Scan Report provides learnings for Scheme design based on global best practices and a close contextual understanding of Australia’s capacity for change. The report is in three parts: 1) a survey of the current state of the Australian clothing industry and product stewardship; 2) an analysis of clothing waste policies and initiatives in 12 countries; and 3) an overview of technologies and processes that can support a circular economy for clothing. To be released at the next Town Hall.
Data Report - The data report aims to; understand the structure of the sector to ensure the scheme elements are efficient and fair to all; to provide a comprehensive understanding of the flow of clothing in order to frame the scheme actions for maximised effectiveness; and to act as an important baseline by which we can measure changes and successes. To be released at the next Town Hall.
Scheme Recommendation Report - The final report of all analyses and recommendations on sustainable improvements based on the finalised Scheme design, essentially the ‘business plan’.
Roadmap to 2030 - Including a review at 2024 in preparation for meeting the Minister’s Priority List targets for 2025 for Actions 1, 3 and 4.
The ‘shovel-ready’ Scheme will provide clear plans for the sector and a long term self-sustaining economic model in place, underpinned by evidence, to transition to a circular clothing economy; The outcome being that most Australian clothing sector stakeholders from across the supply chain, will be committed to progressing action once the Scheme is launched.
Collaboration partners also include the Australian Retailers Association, Australian Council of Recycling, National Retail Association, Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association Australia.
The Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme is currently being designed in collaboration with industry, for both Stewards and Recirculators, and will bring together a range of key stakeholders so that the success of this Scheme will form the sum of all the parts.
One of the key forms of co-design is through the Reference Group which has been formed purposefully with a cross section of stakeholders involved in the clothing circular economy. This group will meet regularly throughout the project and beyond to provide insights, collaborative support and discussion on the key elements of the Scheme. Reference Group members include representatives from The Iconic, The Woolmark Company, CSIRO, Full Circle Fibres, Salvos Stores, A.BCH, Country Road, Nobody Denim and more.
On the 20th July the AFC and consortium members held the second industry webinar to continue the conversation and update the industry on the progress of the National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme. Over 250 attendees from all facets of the fashion and textile eco-system tuned in to hear insights from the consortium around the groundbreaking reports that mark the closing of phase one of the Scheme.
“For Australia, even a 6.6% reduction in textiles going to landfill will represent the removal of a clothing pile the size of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Government policies would aim to build and scale this industry, further reducing the impact of fashion and textiles waste on the Australian environment.”
Leila Naja Hibri, CEO
Australian Fashion Council
“Australia is firmly in a position to lead in the circularity space using innovation and technology and significantly reducing the disposal of fashion and textiles.”
Leila Naja Hibri, CEO
Australian Fashion Council