Textile Waste in Manufacturing

Textile waste is the material that is discarded throughout the production process. This waste can be produced throughout each stage of product development, from spinning, weaving, dyeing, finishing, and even after it’s made. This waste can be accidental or intentionally created for the purpose of efficiency. 

While incredibly common, textile waste is a huge problem in the manufacturing industry as it has numerous environmental impacts. To produce an item, there are significant amounts of chemicals, water, energy and other limited natural resources consumed. In North America it is estimated that 10 million tonnes of clothing textile waste is sent to the landfill annually. When textile waste is produced, not only is the item itself thrown away, but the energy and resources used to produce the product are also going to waste, along with potentially toxic chemicals. Most often, these items take an incredibly long period of time to decompose. When an item is decomposing, it often leaches toxic chemicals and dyes into the soil and nearby water sources. This is often seen in particular with items from the fast fashion industry. When a toxic chemical is introduced into an ecosystem, it can be detrimental to biological processes and the food chain. 

So, how can textile waste be minimized? By using local materials and human-centred production processes, manufacturers are able to reduce their textile waste. When shopping locally, the energy used to transport materials is also greatly reduced. When materials reach the end of their lifecycle, after being reduced, reused, and recycled, it is crucial that the dyes used in the fabrication process are non-toxic so that the textiles can be responsibly disposed of. 

Brands Working to Reduce Textile Waste

With environmental impact at the forefront, more and more brands are disrupting the status quo and taking a circular approach to manufacturing. Here are a few change makers in the textile industry. 

Anian is a Canadian company that creates timeless clothing made with entirely recycled natural fibres from landfills. Their aim is to fill your closet with high quality pieces designed to last a lifetime.

Canadian apparel company L/L Supply is revolutionizing the textile industry with the first of its kind, completely circular production model. Each of their garments can be returned to be recycled into new pieces. Eventually all of their garments will be made with past styles that have been up cycled.

Boyish Jeans is a US-based company leading the way in sustainable denim. Boyish uses innovative processes to reduce their environmental impact throughout the manufacturing process of their jeans. They prioritize transparency, third party certifications and design their garments to be recycled into new products at the end of their lifecycle. They even have a consignment section of their website so that you can buy and sell used Boyish garments.

Creating handmade eco-friendly products in Canada, The Market Bags takes it one step further with their line of up-cycled fabric produce bags. Sourcing used textiles, The Market Bags repurposes second hand cotton to create draw string bags that are unique, functional and beautiful.

Here at Goldilocks we do everything we can to eliminate our textile waste. When cutting our cotton fabric for beeswax wraps, there are inevitable off-cuts. These go one of two places. The first is into our fire starter kits! The small strips of fabric are coated in beeswax and turned into slow burning fire starters. Turning old beeswax wraps into fire starters is also a great way to responsibly dispose of your beeswax wraps at the end of their lifecycle.

Goldilocks Goods Fire Starters

The second way we use these off-cuts is by making extra small wraps for our Itty Bitty Bundle. This size of wrap is great for covering small surfaces like the ends of cucumbers or lemon halves.

Itty Bitty Bundle

While we try our best to create as little waste as possible, we are not immune to human error. Most recently, our fabric supplier made a mistake and packaged our fabric too soon after printing. This caused the design to bleed and transfer, resulting in an “imperfect” textile product. However, this was simply a cosmetic flaw, so instead of this fabric going to waste, we took the opportunity to educate our community on waste in manufacturing. Since the flaw did not effect the quality or integrity of the beeswax wraps, we offer it online at a 25% discount.

Zero Waste Collective Collaboration

We are very cautious of the dyes we use and a lot of work has gone into ensuring minimal environmental impact by using food safe dyes. Our fabric is made using reactive inks, which are made per standards of GOTS. Additionally, all inks and dyes used are certified as per standards of “Eco Passport” by OEKO-TEX. Furthermore, all colours are certified eco-friendly and sustainable colourants. This means that your beeswax wraps can be safely returned to the earth at the end of their lifecycle through composting.



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EDGE Fashion Intelligence. (2022, January 28). Fashion Industry Environmental, waste, and Recycle Statistics. Fashion Industry Environmental, Waste, and Recycle Statistics. Retrieved February 4, 2022, from https://edgexpo.com/fashion-industry-waste-statistics/

Fashion Industry Waste Statistics & Facts 2022. Woolly Green. (2022, February 1). Retrieved February 4, 2022, from https://woollygreen.com/fashion-industry-waste-statistics/

The monster in our closet: Fast fashion & textile waste on the rise. Center for EcoTechnology. (2021, July 19). Retrieved February 4, 2022, from https://www.centerforecotechnology.org/fast-fashion-textile-waste/

Shirvanimoghaddam, K., Motamed, B., Ramakrishna, S., & Naebe, M. (2020, February 14). Death by waste: Fashion and textile circular economy case. Science of The Total Environment. Retrieved February 4, 2022, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969720308275?casa_token=jyxD35wkpicAAAAA%3Ae5ywaXMNWf5UQpgOH8vEDDMCQBi-_CD0piHst5tXJe98ZUh1bwlXC1mh36l5vNrZIA1BLcmOXLg

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