A new textile reuse group counting fashion’s resale and rental pioneers aims to tackle circular policy.
Called the American Circular Textiles policy group — or ACT — the New York-based working group was cofounded by Circular Services Group (CSG) and Resource Recycling Systems (RRS), along with 11 other founding organizations, including ThredUp, Rent the Runway, The RealReal, CaaStle, Thrilling, Trove, Treet, Recurate, SuperCircle, Fashionphile and Tersus.
“As a leader in recommerce, Rent the Runway has long believed in the power of wearing and celebrating clothing to its fullest potential as a way to curb the enormous amount of waste the industry generates,” said Megan Farrell, head of sustainability at Rent the Runway. “To take our collective work to the next level, we need solutions that will help scale textile recycling and reuse once a garment has reached the end of its wearable life. We’re happy to join Act and drive progress on this important work together.”
Stuart Ahlum, cofounder of SuperCircle, expressed excitement in building the coalition. “The goals of this group are core to our mission of keeping clothes out of landfill, and we hope that, alongside these fantastic operators and thought leaders, we can help shape supporting policy.”
Having held its first meeting last week, Act will continue to convene key stakeholders monthly, starting with the circular fashion community, in hopes of staking textile reuse firmly atop policymakers’ agendas.
“By 2023, we will expand our scope to textile recyclers and those involved further downstream,” CSG’s founder and textile reuse veteran Rachel Kibbe, told WWD. “We have already started these conversations. Founding members must be able to delegate a maximum of two representatives with the ability to attend monthly meetings, participate actively in discussions and make expedient decisions on behalf of the company.”
Highlighting the relative absence of textile waste among recent policy efforts – including the “Fashion Act,” (spawning a couple of reaction letters), Kibbe believes circularity is a white space in the policy landscape and that Act will further help “align” policy and nudge forward promising innovations.
By the end of the year, Act will publish a paper for lawmakers proposing industry-supported policy mechanisms designed to advance textile reuse and a “preferred materials management approach” starting at the top of the circular economy waste hierarchy.