Launched this month, the pilot TRAKS rug and furnishing recycling program developed by Textile Recyclers Australia (TRA), and Karie Soehardi Consultancy (KS) will be the first in a series of collaborative programs to move the textile industry towards a circular economy.
Rug brand Armadillo and fabric wholesaler James Dunlop Textiles have joined the pilot for Australia’s first industry-wide circular program for the soft furnishing industry.
The first program will collect, sort and process discarded rugs from businesses and consumers with the support of participating rug companies. The second trial will involve textiles businesses returning offcuts or surplus materials from products such as curtains and sofas for recycling.
“To date, there haven’t been commercial avenues for furnishing textiles to be recycled and unfortunately a lot of textiles end up in landfill. The scale of the problem is staggering, for example a simple ordering mistake could lead to many units of cushions ending up in waste streams. Or if the drapery for a hotel turns up in the wrong shade, an entire shipment can end up in a skip,” said KS Consultancy founder Karie Soehardi.
Textile Recyclers Australia co-founder Maureen Taylor said that “The industry is becoming increasingly aware of its environmental footprint but the cost of setting up company take-back schemes is cost-prohibitive”.
“Many companies want to do the right thing, but they rarely have the resources to devote to research and setting up a recycling pathway on their own”, Ms Taylor said.
Textile Recyclers Australia co-founder Ben Kaminsky stated, “We need a collective solution and economies of scale to create circular economy channels to recover unwanted materials”.
Unwanted rugs will either be collected or delivered for a fee to TRAKS, processed locally, then turned back into yarn off-shore.
Ms Soehardi said Armadillo’s participation in the pilot and the commitment by 15 other rug companies to roll out the program in 2022 would ensure the TRAKS recycling program becomes a success.
Similarly, James Dunlop Textiles will help iron out any issues in the TRAKS furnishings circular economy program before it’s rolled out to manufacturers and makers across Australia and New Zealand in 2022.