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Chapter 5: The problems in the bigger system.

During all our expert interviews together with our partner CAIF, we learned that the system as a whole needs to change. We are living in a disposable consumer culture that simply won’t last any longer – All players from consumers, businesses and governments will have to collaborate to change our linear system to a circular one. Here are our main lessons learned:

  • Garments are not made for recycling: It’s problematic that clothes are not designed to be recycled, making it hard to dismantle clothes to make new fibres. 
  • Growing fast fashion, with no thought about the afterlife: While fast fashion continues to grow in India, there is no proper collection system, and consumers are not mindful of where they need to dispose of old textiles. One solution for this could be deposits for the purchase of clothes.
  • A Lack of traceability: For post-consumer textile waste, there is little traceability, and current traceability platforms are too expensive (especially compared to the low revenues generated by textile waste). 
  • End-consumers are confused when shopping for recycled clothes: Consumers need to choose between organic, fair-trade, recycled materials etc. They have a hard time navigating, especially since there is still a fair amount of greenwashing.

Need for stronger legislation/policy around textile waste: In India, there is no clear legislation around ways to dispose of textile waste, the amount of production that needs to include recycled fibres or to support other initiatives that close the loop.

Innovator highlight: Trustrace.

Trustrace makes the complex fashion supply chains visible so that brands, retailers and consumers can make informed decisions. Therefore, they created a digital platform for product traceability and supply chain transparency. Using AI and blockchain technology, they bring data transparency to producers/brands who want to know what they sell, and to consumers who care what they buy.

How we plan to solve it

We believe every venture we build should change or disrupt the current system. We start addressing the fundamental issue rather than “cleaning up” the consequences. Thereby, we ensure the traceability and tracking of our services. For instance, our weaving studio, Khaloom, uses QR tracking to show that our products are actually handwoven. We have installed cameras on each handloom. Each fabric is tagged with its own QR code. The end-consumer can scan this code for a video where they can see their fabric being made. 

All the waste coming into our sorting centre in Chennai will also be trackable, ensuring that we reduce the opacity around where the waste goes and how it gets reused.

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