Fly tipping is a blight on the environment; the illegal dumping of waste has the high potential to affect the condition of the land and the local ecosystem – hence why it’s so tightly governed. Government statistics[i] have revealed that in England alone, local authorities in 2018/19 dealt with over 1 million (1,072,000) fly tipping incidents; representing an increase of 8% from the 998,000 that was reported in 2017/18. The need for responsible fly tipping removal is as important as it’s ever been.
A particularly common type of waste that is illegally dumped, is clothing. Whilst some textiles are recycled, the vast majority are either taken to landfill or are dumped – performing the release of harmful greenhouse gases that affect the environment.
So in the effort to cut down on the amount of textiles that find themselves placed in landfill or dumped illegally on public/privately-owned land, the resource sustainably charity, WRAP, created a ‘Sustainable Clothing Action Plan’ (SCAP). Targeting the clothing industry, the hope is that sustainable practices will work their way down to the consumer. Here, we’re going to be taking a look at the most recent findings from SCAP, as well as see what government ministers are doing to help.
WRAP’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan & The Need For Fly Tipping Removal
SCAP Report 2020
Aimed at reducing the carbon, water and waste footprint of the fashion industry, SCAP has 88 organisations signed up – representing around 65% of the clothes sold in the UK by volume and 54% by sales value.
The latest report has revealed that data collected throughout 2018 saw that, whilst progress was being made in certain areas, there was an increasing amount of clothing ending up in landfill or incineration – causing concern.
Firstly, let’s talk about the good news – WRAP have said that all of the SCAP signatories have already met its water target for 2020; managing to reduce their water usage by more than 18% (per tonne of clothing). Carbon reduction is at 13.4% and WRAP say they are ‘confident’ that their target of 15% will be met by the end of 2020.
Whilst these improvements can be put down to several factors, it’s the changes in the proportions of different fibres used, as well as the increased use of sustainable cotton, that have been cited as major contributors to the reduction.
Areas of Concern For Clothing Waste
Despite these positive steps, the report also revealed that excessive clothing waste was still finding its way into landfill – the amount increasing by a worrying 10% since 2014/15. SCAP has acknowledged that this is a difficult issue for its signatories to tackle, as UK consumers are buying more clothing than ever (household spending on clothing is up by 3%).
To reverse this trend, the report recommends that producers encourage consumers to re-use and recycle garments – which aside from saving them from being placed into landfill, would also negate the need for potential fly tipping removal.
Another area that isn’t performing as well as required, is the reduction of waste in the supply chains of the plan’s signatories. The target for the end of 2020 was set for 3.5% – currently, it is 1.4%. Whilst WRAP concede that the target is unlikely to be met, they do indicate that transparency is improving within the supply chain – just more work is needed to tackle supply chain waste.
Ministerial Recommendations For Clothing Producers
The report follows a year after the publication of a report by a House of Commons Select Committee, which found that UK fashion businesses were failing to commit to reducing their environmental impact. The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) also found that the UK buys more clothes per person than any other European country, with the average consumer purchasing 26.7kg of clothing items per year, as opposed to 16.7kg in Germany, 14.5kg in Italy and 12.6kg in Sweden.
The EAC also set out recommendations covering environmental and labour market practices to try and help clean up the industry, cutting down on fly tipping. This includes a proposed 1p charge per item of clothing sold in the UK to fund waste collection and recycling streams – the fund has been estimated to raise £35 million per year.
However, the government rejected all of the recommendations detailed in the Fixing Fashion Report: Clothing, Consumption and Sustainability. In a statement, the government said: “We recognise how crucial it is for the environmental and social impacts to be well managed, particularly in this era of fast fashion...In our response, we explain the action already being taken in respect of clothing and outline our [existing] plans for the future”.
So despite the intentions of some within the industry, there is still some way to go before the supply chain can be sufficiently controlled.
If you’re a business or individual who is interested in learning more about textile recycling or fly tipping removal in general, the expert team here at BKP can help.
BKP: Expert Fly Tipping Clean-Up and Recycling Services
Here at BKP, we have been operating within the waste management industry for over 50 years; innovation and sustainability at the forefront of everything we do. With fly tipping (sadly) being a common occurrence, we endeavour to quickly mobilise and treat issues – all waste that we collect will be separated and most will be processed for recycling.
To learn more about our fly tipping removal services, give us a call today on 0800 376 5004 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org