- People typically throw away 60% of their clothes in a year.
- The garment industry consumes approximately 93 billion cubic meters of water, enough to meet the needs of 5 million people.
- Business Insider India spoke to startups such as
Doodleand EcoKaarito dig deep into sustainable fashion in India.
Trends such as fast fashion these days have a darker side – more waste. Besides the fact that people who buy more also have more, in general, people throw away 60% of their clothes in a year.
According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, if this trend continues, more than 150 million tons of clothing waste will clog landfills by 2050.
Delhi-based designer Kriti Tula, who was shocked by the “waste of fashion”, co-founded a company called Doodlage which recycles old clothes and calls it clothing remanufacturing.
“Doodlelage handles post-cut scrap, defective pieces and end-of-line fabrics, dead stock and recycled materials. Remanufacturing saves the resources needed to manufacture virgin fabrics. Given the huge environmental costs of (mostly fast) fashion – from water-intensive cotton crops to unsustainable fabric production levels – this can make a big difference,” Tula told Business Insider India.
The garment industry consumes approximately 93 billion cubic meters of water, enough to meet the needs of 5 million people.
Recycling, however, is only half the problem solved, as fast fashion is at the root of it. Tula also has an answer to this.
“There are many ways to work with sustainable fashion. From traditional recycling of used consumer waste to working with artisans to create slow fashion, you can choose your raw material and the right supply chain depending on the market you are targeting,” Tula said.
In the first quarter of this year, Doodlage saved and reused 15,000 meters of fabric waste.
Waste in bags
Another fashion startup is also looking to use the waste itself. EcoKaari, based in Pune, makes waste its raw material and offers many unique products, such as bags made from packets of Lays crisps.
“EcoKaari is a social enterprise that has two goals: to preserve the environment by recycling plastic waste and to provide livelihoods for artisans, mainly women and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds,” said Nandan Bhat, founder of EcoKaari. , to Business Insider India.
The startup also brings sustainability with the material and process involved in creating its handwoven products.
“From separating plastics by color to sanitizing, our process is environmentally friendly because we don’t use heat, electricity or chemicals during the recycling process with traditional products.
charkha and loom. So it can be set up in any remote village, providing craft opportunities for less privileged people,” says Bhat.
In FY22, EcoKaari recycled nearly 17,000 used plastic bags and packaging, keeping them out of landfills and the ocean. For the current financial year, it is targeting 47.5 lakh.
The supply of these products is not very difficult according to these entrepreneurs. Ecokaari has partnered with waste collection organizations such as Poornam Ecovision and Sahas Zero Waste. They also receive plastic in the form of donations and also buy it from waste pickers. They also collect gift wrap, crisps and packets of cookies.
“As a production-based country, we have no shortage of fabric waste created in printing units, fabric manufacturing units and garment production units. We also source from traders who remove fabric waste from many factories in an area,” Tula said.
Training and investments
This year, EcoKaari has set a goal of generating revenue of ₹2.25 crore. “We are trying to increase our productivity by using modern and clean equipment, providing training and skilled craftsmen, and developing ourselves,” Bhat said.
Organizations like the Tata Group and Dell have partnered with EcoKaari to source products for corporate gifts, Bhat said. The company also exports to countries like Europe, Japan and the United States, he added.
Tula is also counting on the growing corporate interest in sustainability to grow its business. She says many of them have shown interest in consciously producing their internal projects. His company has worked with organizations like PayU, Tata Cliq, Facebook, Apple Inc and more.
“We also provide packaging solutions, create merchandise, organize fashion shows – all to reach more people with the idea of finding alternatives and making them ambitious,” Tula said.
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