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Garment industry needs circular economy

Garment industry needs circular economy Source:
Date: 28-01-2013
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Dozens of the nation's political leaders, business executives and academics attended a round-table conference on developing a green and circular economy for China's garment industry on Jan. 27 in Beijing. Attendees addressed problems existing within the industry, as well as the opportunities and challenges the industry faces during the process of low-carbon development. Moreover, issues in regards to the recycling of used clothing were also discussed.

China's garment industry, which is closely related to people's daily lives, is a strong global competitor, with an annual growth rate of over 10 percent. However, most garment companies in China are not environmentally friendly as they consume large amounts of natural resources and discharge pollutants into the environment without taking any recycling measures.

If a pair of polyester pants, weighing some 400 g, is used for two years, a total of 47 kg carbon dioxide would be discharged into the air during its laundering process, experts said during the conference. In 2011, China produced about 2.4 billion garment products, the production of which contributed a lot to China's carbon dioxide emissions.

China passed the "12th Five Year Plan" on the development of the circular economy, in December of 2012, encouraging China's garment industry to develop the new technologies of recycling and reusing worn textile products. These measures urge China's garment industry to pay more attention to energy conservation and environmental protection.

It is encouraging that some Chinese garment companies are trying to develop recycling and reusing systems for textile products, learned from the conference. However, these systems have not yet been perfected. The recycling technology of textile products has become a new industry emerging in many developed countries, effectively solving the problems of natural resource shortages and environmental pollution.

China's garment industry should learn from those advanced experiences to develop its own circular economy across the whole sector.

The round-table conference was organized by the International Energy Conservation Environmental Protection Association (IEEPA), the International Cooperation Center of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Textile & Garment Chamber of Commerce, and the All-China Association of Industry & Commerce.

The conference, aiming to establish recycling systems in the garment industry, is significant for the whole industry in the development of a circular economy.
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