Textile Waste in Metro Vancouver

Ever wonder what a city’s waste facility looks like? Or where clothing that was tossed away goes?

Metro Vancouver recently created the video above to show everyday consumers what happens after they throw away their clothing, or send it to a donation centre that ends up tossing their items.

Heartbreaking stats in the video and Metro Vancouver’s post outline that “textiles make up about five percent of the region’s municipal solid waste, or 20k metric tonnes per year” and “clothing makes up about half of all textile waste, which is equivalent to about 34 t-shirts per person per year.” Given these shocking numbers, Metro Vancouver is heavily involved in research, partnering with relevant bodies like the National Zero Waste Council and implementing programs to expedite the conversation on clothing waste reduction and circular fashion.

In the meantime, it’s not all awful, as there are local organizations dedicated to diverting the amount of textile waste going to landfills. The video features Trans-Continental Textile Recycle & FabCycle.

  • Trans-Continental Textile Recycle purchases excess clothing charities from thrift stores and divides it into categories to add as much value as possible. One category ships clothing to Africa where tailors add values to these items. The company also deliver pure fabrics (eg: wool or cotton) to business to reuse.

  • FabCycle takes scraps, offcuts, end of rolls and any other textile waste from designers and brands and recycle it to ensure it does not end up in our landfills. We interviewed Irina McKenzie, the lady behind the company and that post will be out at the end of the month so stay tuned!

To close off, as an everyday consumer and a member of the Recloseted tribe, you can do your part in eliminating the amount of waste going to our landfills. Buy less clothing, use what you have in your wardrobe, and when you’re done with your garments, make sure you properly dispose of the clothes so it does not end up in landfills. If you’re unsure how to ethically a dispose your clothes, please read this post.