Within the past few years, resource recovery has seen some exciting changes. Here are the 6 top trends we are predicting for 2017.
- Integration of resource recovery options for the community- With Australians throwing out 23 kilograms of the 27 kilograms of clothing they buy every year, the demand for ethical and responsible services for the ‘disposal’ of our unwanted things is on the increase. As a result, communities need a variety of avenues for accessible and attractive reuse and recycling services that will fit in easily with their routines and lifestyles. A lot of the public now want to do the right thing and are becoming more environmentally and socially conscious but lack options. We are expecting to see more council kerbside collections, private home pick-up services and the introduction of innovate clothing and electrical drop-off hubs (formerly known as clothing bins) that will begin to change the way they were once perceived. To help councils tackle illegal dumping and overflowing sites, and to help improve the efficiency and service of private clothing collection companies, smart technology for hubs is being developed overseas that will be able to sense when they have reached a certain percentage of capacity, signalling to drivers that the hubs need to be serviced.
- Eco Bloggers –The popularity of Eco Bloggers, such as Eco Organiser®, are on the rise. Eco bloggers are a great resource for go-to guides on how to live more sustainability, declutter your homes and can be insightful directories on where to go to reuse and recycle your unwanted things. Eco Organiser® runs professional declutter workshops for homes and offices alongside councils throughout Australia on a regular basis teaching communities about the 10R’s ™ Rethink, Responsible, Refuse, Repurpose, Reorganise, Repair, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reward. For a list of upcoming events, click here.
- More advanced technology – Technology in Japan is being developed that transforms old clothing into new clothing. Although this is in early stages with only pure forms of textiles (100% cotton dresses) able to be converted, this is an exciting piece of technology to watch out for!
- Products made from waste – Believe it or not, waste is being used as a main material source for consumer products at some of our world’s most pioneering retailers. Adidas has partnered with Parley for the Oceans and converted ocean waste found in the Maldives into shoes, selling them for $200 a pair. A dutch designer, Nienke Hoogvliet, creates his incredibly artistic furniture and homewares using recycled and reclaimed toilet paper – yes we said toilet paper! Ekocycle is an initiative launched as a collaboration between Will.I.Am and Coca Cola, recycling coke bottles and using the materials to make bags.
- Big retail clothing giants changing internal processes – The World Wildlife Fund has estimated that it can take 8,500 litres of water to grow 1kg of cotton lint, which is what is needed to make one pair of blue jeans. In addition, pesticides and fertilisers are used in the process, making the global textile industry one of the most polluting and waste generating reporting sectors in the world. More than ever before, retail clothing giants are under pressure to review and revolutionise their internal processes, from growing and buying environmentally friendly materials ready for production and ethical human labour in overseas factories, to in-store practices such as emailed receipts, to closing the loop at the end of the clothing life-cycle via take-back programs that provide incentives for consumers to reuse and recycle with particular brands.
- Alternative Uses For Second Hand Items– Items that are too damaged for re-wear or reuse will be more commonly used in unconventional ways. For example, torn denim is used as building insulation and broken bathtubs are being cleverly converted into garden beds. The up-cycle industry is beginning to boom in Australia, with retailers such as The Upcycle Studio, beginning to pop-up everywhere.