Hubbub recently brought together industry experts and parliamentarians in Westminster for the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion debate; ‘what contribution to fashion sustainability do clothing take-back schemes offer?’

At the end of a great debate, we asked the expert panel for one final piece of advice to industry and consumers on how to deal with the problem of clothing ending up in landfill. We’ve shared their responses below:

What is one piece of advice you can give to industry on how to deal with the volume of clothing generated?  

1) Cyndi Rhoades, CEO Worn Again

“I’d like to see more brands actively engaging and investing directly in the circular recycling technologies which are currently in development - don't wait for the solution. Be part of making it happen”. 

2) Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey

“Use your influences and look for ways to change your business models that don't produce so much unwanted clothing”.

3) Professor Kate Fletcher, Centre for Sustainable Fashion

“Find business value in a model of LESS.” 

4) Cecilia Brannsten, Project Leader for Sustainability, H&M

Make sure that the collected textiles are being used in the best possible way according to the European waste hierarchy, promoting re-use before recycling. When the garments cannot be reused the goal is that they should be recycled in a closed loop for textiles”. 

5) Trewin Restorick, CEO, Hubbub

“Industry needs to work collaboratively to ensure that maximum value is retained from unwanted clothes. In practice this will mean looking at ways to reduce the number of unwanted clothes in the first instance. Any surplus clothes should then be dealt with following a clear hierarchy:

1. Ensure any high quality unwanted clothes are redistributed to families in need – preferably in this country.  

2. Create recycling technology that enables fabrics to be used again.

3. Ensure that any clothing disposal is done responsibly with minimal impact to the environment or damage to emerging economies”.  

6) Adam Elman, Director of Sustainable Business for Plan A, M&S

“At M&S we’re working on three key steps: firstly, ensuring we are taking action on all of the major hot spots within our supply chain, from looking after workers fairly, to ensuring the raw materials we use are from sustainable sources. Secondly, to ensure our garments are made to last. Finally, our partnership with Oxfam means that when a customer no longer wants an item of clothing, we ensure it can be resold, reused or recycled and any profits generated go to help fight poverty”.

What is one piece of advice you can offer to consumers on how they can ensure clothing doesn’t end up in landfill?

1) Cyndi Rhoades, CEO Worn Again

“Find your nearest textile recycling bank. Use it for everything - clothes, bedding, curtains and even tea towels and handkerchiefs - even if you don't think it can be recycled, it can”.

2) Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey

“Adapt, repair, be creative, buy less and have more fun along the way”.

3) Professor Kate Fletcher, Centre for Sustainable Fashion

“Only ever buy things you truly like”.

4) Cecilia Brannsten, Project Leader for Sustainability, H&M

“Don’t let fashion go to waste: leave your unwanted garments with H&M and we will make sure they get a new life. There is only one rule in fashion: recycle your clothes”. 

5) Trewin Restorick, CEO Hubbub

“Consumers should really value all the clothes that they buy as all of them will have taken a considerable amount of time, energy and effort to get to the shop. Clothing should be cherished, looked after, worn often and then be disposed of responsibly”.

6) Adam Elman, Director of Sustainable Business for Plan A, M&S

“If consumers do end up with garments they no longer want, there are many options other than landfill such as giving to friends, selling online, giving to charity shops or of course, they can Shwop them in any M&S store and we’ll pass them on to Oxfam to be resold, reused or recycled!”  

What would your advice be for industry and consumers? Join in the debate at the Fashion Future Network.