Turning fashion into a more sustainable industry requires more than just a focus on recycling. The key lies in introducing clothes that last longer. Greenpeace explains why recycling is not enough in its latest report "Fashion at the crossroads".

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries, even if in recent times there is a need to reduce its impact by converting it into a circular and responsible economy. 
But, according to the report Fashion at the crossroads published by Greenpeace, from an environmental point of view, the strategies adopted so far have not yet produced the desired results: companies and institutions focus on recycling plastic waste from other industrial sectors.

Unfortunately, the idea of achieving circularity through a complete understanding of the production process and business models that take into account not only the recovery of waste and the elimination of toxic substances from clothes, but above all the use of fewer raw materials, is still far from being achieved. It is only by adopting solutions that extend the life cycle of materials and clothes that the production of textile waste can be minimised. But to do this, we need to change the whole way we think about clothing itself.

The real environmental problem is the over-consumption of textiles, which are still disposed of together with household waste, ending up in landfills or incinerators. In addition, due to the lack of technology to recycle one hundred per cent of synthetic and natural fibres, recycling in the fashion world only partially covers textile waste.
The textile and clothing industry is trying to break out of this vicious circle by replacing traditional textiles with materials such as polyester made from plastic waste from the food and beverage industry. But according to the Greenpeace report, the only result of this initiative has been "to avoid tackling the real environmental problems arising from the use of polyester, specifically its origin from fossil fuels and its contribution to microfibre contamination in the world's oceans".

It should be the big brands that are primarily responsible for this situation that should put an end to this huge problem. For this reason, Greenpeace is advocating slower fashion that extends the life cycle of products by improving their design, offering consumers in-store repair and collection services for used clothing, and limiting the promotion of irresponsible consumption. Manufacturers should also use more natural cultivated fibres, such as eucalyptus fibre (Tencel), beech fibre, organic cotton and regenerated wool. In order to reduce the use of synthetic materials derived from oil, which not only pose a great threat to the climate and the oceans, but also make products less durable due to their poor quality.

The true circular economy, therefore, is one that starts and ends with textile products, around which it is necessary to build a business model that promotes durability first and then recycling, educating the consumer to prefer quality to quantity.