April 17, 2024
Sustainability

Aussie Environment Minister Warns On Turn Back From Fast Fashion

Australian environment minister Tanya Plibersek is mulling regulating fashion clothing from going into landfills by levying a tax.

According to the Australian Fashion Council, Australians on average now purchase 56 items of garments annually, and more than 200,000 tons of apparels go to Australian landfills yearly.

Nearly all discarded clothing ends up in landfill, and clothing collection and repurposing of clothing is mainly run by charities.

The minister is considering whether to intervene in the sector to improve its recycling and reuse efforts, which could include minimum design standards.

He is also mulling to mandate fashion brands to contribute to a green fund for every unit of garment they manufacture or import and put in the market.

Plibersek said the fashion industry has fallen short of expectations. She said the sector is responsible for 10 percent of global carbon emissions; more than international flights and maritime shipping combined.

A government-funded consortium led by the Australian Fashion Council in June last year launched Seamless, which charts a course for the fashion industry to transition to a circular economy by 2030.

Under the scheme, members must pay a 4 cent contribution to the Seamless program for every piece of clothing they make or import. Footwear, single-use protective wear and accessories are excluded.

Seamless funding would then go towards clothing collection and sorting, research and recycling projects, education campaigns and other work to help coordinate the industry’s green efforts.

The Fashion Council estimates the scheme will raise about $36 million each year, and up to $60 million if it becomes mandatory for the sector to contribute.

And it hopes the Seamless program will divert as much as 60 percent of clothing from landfill by 2027.

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