Want to take action on clothing waste?

Monday 02-11-2015 - 00:00

We are pleased to announce that Epona, NUS and the University of Bradford have secured funding from UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, for a circular economy clothing project.

Every year, students’ union staff order loads of bespoke runs of clothing for welcome weeks, summer balls and countless other one-off events. Couple that with the fast turnover of student staff, and you begin to realise how much waste we can generate in fabric and textiles across our movement.

To take action on this unnecessary waste, we are piloting a pioneering solution – introducing the principles of the circular economy to how we procure clothing in students’ unions, making the process more sustainable. 

We’re developing a rental and remanufacture T-shirt for students’ union staff, officers and campaigners, demonstrating how this new way of working could become part of normal business.Essentially, this means that rather than buying clothes to throw away, students’ unions rent the shirts and send them back when they’re done for them to be stripped to their fibres, and repurposed as brand new garments for the next rental.

The idea is just one example of the wider concept of a circular economy – in which resources are kept in productive use longer following primary production – ideally at the same value.

It can have a huge impact. Studies indicate that substantial adoption of circular business models could lead to a saving of as much as $520-630bn a year in raw material. A build-up of ‘circular' supply chains that increase the rate of recycling, reuse and remanufacture could generate more than $1tr a year for the global economy by 2025 

Our vice president for society and citizenship Piers Telemacque said that “as a movement, we’ve had a long history of working with our suppliers to improve social, economic and environmental practice – and this is an exciting new step, as we move into the circular economy across the next six months”

For more information on the project and details of how to get involved, just email us.



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