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  • Ben Davis

Textiles: Meet the NGOs that are recycling textile waste

Updated: Nov 22, 2019

Dealing with modern textile waste isn’t a simple task, but fortunately, many social businesses have stepped up to ease the process. With 125,196 tonnes of textile waste generated in Hong Kong in 2016 alone, along with China’s 70,000 tons of textile waste per day, social businesses have taken action locally. For the final textile blog post, we will take a look at a few social businesses whose practices stand out from the crowd.

Environmental Initiatives in Textile Industry

A great example of an NGO making an impact on textile waste is China’s Green Initiatives. This NGO focuses on minimizing or reversing the environmental degradation in China brought about by economic growth. One of the main ways they achieve this is through their textile waste program called RE:FORM. This program focuses on working with businesses in Shanghai to tackle the root of the problem. It achieves this by first helping companies to identify issues with their manufacturing process and offer advice on how to recycle or dispose of textile waste. They also organize workshops to connect the community with companies to educate the public on how to become responsible consumers and the importance of purchasing items that last. Lastly, they provide communities and the industry with a reliable system to reuse and recycle discarded clothing with collection boxes and environmentally friendly transportation. Overall this makes for a cohesive program that is well on its way to reducing China’s textile waste program.

Organisations Tackling the Problems of Textile & Fashion Industry in Hong Kong
  • Redress

Examples of pioneering NGOs can also be found even closer to home. Redress, a Hong Kong-based NGO founded by Christina Dean, was started to tackle the problem of waste in the fashion industry. Their main goal is to promote sustainability by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption. To achieve this goal, Redress enacts four key programmes: their EcoChic Design Award, a sustainable fashion design competition, their R-Cert, a consumer standard put in place for recycled clothing, consumer campaigns and industry engagement. With these programs in place, Redress is making a solid impact on Hong Kong’s textile waste problem every day.

  • Green Ladies

Green Ladies is a social-economic business also founded in Hong Kong that promotes eco-friendly attitudes towards clothing consumption. Green Ladies is operated by a consignment model, encouraging business owners to become their consignors. Shops around Hong Kong act as eco-platforms to highlight the beauty within secondhand fashion and change the general public’s perception towards it. They operate a more business-centered approach by taking high-quality second-hand clothes to clean and re-sell, giving the donor a proportion of the selling price. Overall, their slogan ‘Try Before You Buy, Think Before You Trash’ encapsulates their attitude towards sustainability in fashion and should be one everyone keeps in mind when it comes to shopping.


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