Textile waste is an urgent global problem, with only 12 per cent recycled worldwide, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Even less - only 1 per cent - of castoff clothes are recycled into new garments; the majority is used for low value items like insulation or mattress stuffing.

Nowhere is the problem more pressing than in China, the world’s largest textile producer and consumer, where more than 26 million tons of clothes are thrown away every year year, according to government statistics. Most of it ends up in landfills.

And factories like this one are barely making a dent in a country whose clothing industry is dominated by fast fashion  - cheap clothes made from unrecyclable synthetics, not cotton. Produced from petrochemicals that contribute to climate change, air and water pollution, synthetics account for 70 per cent of domestic clothing sales in China.

China’s footprint is worldwide: E-commerce juggernaut brands Shein and Temu make the country one of the world’s largest producers of cheap fashion, selling in more than 150 countries.

  • Baggins@beehaw.org
    3 days ago

    Disgusting, yet people (sadly mainly women) will continue to buy this rubbish by the shed load. Wear it once and throw it away. One of the women at work spends most of her time on Amazon, Temu and Shein, spends a fortune. I mentioned that if the dress costs less than £5 shipped from China, what sort of quality is it and how much did the person making it get? She said I had a point but she couldn’t turn down a bargain like that.

    And this is why we are shafted. People just don’t care as long as they get a bargain.