August 5, 2021

How Bangladesh could benefit from recycling cotton waste

2 min read

A recent analysis conducted by the Circular Fashion Partnership says that textile waste from Bangladesh might be used more efficiently.

The Circular Fashion Partnership is a cross-sectorial project led by Global Fashion Agenda, with partners including Reverse Resources, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and P4G.

The project aims to achieve a long-term, scalable transition to a circular fashion system and support the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh.

The research has found out that in 2019, Bangladesh produced approximately 577,000 tonnes of waste from the Ready Made Garment industry and fabrics mills of which 250,000 tonnes, counting for almost half of the total, was 100% pure cotton waste. According to estimates, factories in Bangladesh could sell this 100% cotton waste to the recycling market for up to US$100 million.

Bangladesh is currently heavily reliant on the importation of textile fiber: in 2019, the country imported 1.63 million tonnes of staple cotton fiber for a value estimated to be US$3.5 billion.

Based on the Circular Fashion Partnership findings, if 100% cotton waste was recycled within Bangladesh, imports could decrease by around 15%, therefore saving half US$ one billion that would have been spent on cotton imports.

Since its launch in November 2020, more than 50 brands, manufacturers, recyclers and NGOs have signed up to take part in the Circular Fashion Partnership which 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 seeks 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 aims to facilitate circular commercial collaborations between textile and garment manufacturers, recyclers and fashion brands operating in Bangladesh.

The latest participants that joined the project are brands, manufacturers and recyclers. Brands include Benetton, Fashion Cube, Gymshark, Kiabi, Next, Primark, The Very Group and Teddy SpA. Among manufacturers there are AKM Knitwear, Aman Group, Asrotex and Aukotex while recyclers include Bangladesh Petrochemical Company Ltd. (BPCL), Circ, Circular Systems, Ecolife, Evrnu, Natural Fiber Welding (NFW), Officina+39 and SC Grand.

The partnership has also welcomed new affiliate partners including Fashion for Good, the Danish Embassy in Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi Embassy in Denmark and McKinsey & Co. The affiliate partners will contribute by sharing knowledge, networks and unlocking investment opportunities for the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh.

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