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COPENHAGEN/DHACA, Bangladesh: Analysis by the Circular Fashion Partnership suggests the country could save US$500 million a year on imported cotton if it recycled 250,000 tonnes of cotton waste from existing garment manufacturing.

In 2019 Bangladesh imported 1.63 million tonnes of cotton fibre valued at US$3.5 billion.

The partnership, a cross-sectorial project led by Global Fashion Agenda with Reverse Resources, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), supports the development of the country’s textile recycling industry by capturing and directing post-production fashion waste into new fashion products.

Currently it is finding solutions for the COVID-19-related accumulation of deadstock by facilitating circular commercial collaboration between textile and garment manufacturers, recyclers and fashion brands in Bangladesh.

“In order for fashion to continue to prosper within planetary boundaries, we need to urgently embrace the opportunities of a circular economy,” said Global Fashion Agenda CEO Federica Marchionni. “Using the Reverse Resources technology platform, we have been able to map participants’ textile waste to grasp its scale and quantify the economic opportunity of closing the loop. These findings demonstrate that a circular fashion system could breed not only environmental but financial benefits for a country.”

According to Nin Castle, head of recycling for Reverse Resources, Bangladesh produces the most recyclable textile waste of any apparel producing country and has a significant opportunity to scale its local recycling capacity and reduce its dependency on virgin raw materials.

“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,” she noted.

Since its launch in November 2020 over 50 brands, manufacturers, recyclers and NGOs have signed up to the Circular Fashion Partnership. Latest brands to join include Benetton, Fashion Cube, Gymshark, Kiabi, Next, Primark, The Very Group and Teddy SpA.

Recyclers include the Bangladesh Petrochemical Company Ltd. (BPCL), Circ, Circular Systems, Ecolife, Evrnu, Natural Fiber Welding (NFW), Officina+39, SC Grand.

Manufacturing partners are AKM Knitwear, Aman Group, Asrotex, Aukotex, Beximco, Bitopi Group (Tarasima), Cute Dress, Echotex Ltd, Epillyon, Fakir Fashions, Fakir Knitwear, Genesis, GMS, Impress, Interstoff, J.M. Fabrics JL Sweaters, Knit Asia Group, MAS Intimates, Meghna Knit Composite, Natural Denim Ltd., Norp Knit Industries Ltd. Unit-2, Northern, Ocean Sweaters Ltd, Ratul Group (Knitwear & Fabric), Reedisha Group, Rising Tex, Sakura, SB Style, Shasha Garments, Simple Approach, Tarasima Group, Urmi, Vintage (ABA Group).
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