A new study measures the value of waste from clothing manufacturing in Bangladesh, making a strong case for upcycling and recycling.
Researchers tracked textile waste streams from Bangladesh’s vast readymade garment (RMG) sector and, based on their findings, they estimate an average of US$ 0.70 is lost for every piece of apparel exported.
For context, a study released last year by the United States Fashion Industry Association (USFIA) showed the unit price of apparel products in Bangladesh was US$ 2.5.
For their study, researchers identified and categorised textile waste generated in various apparel production stages and also traced the informal trading of waste materials – a vast underground market in Bangladesh. Their findings draw on primary data from 17 textile and apparel factories.
Waste is generated along various stages of clothing production, and these were broken down into spinning, wet processing, fabric manufacture and apparel production. The researchers conclude that the total amounts of material lost in the process are approximately:
- 63% in spinning
- 10% in fabric manufacturing
- 34% in wet processing
- 19% in the apparel production
The study suggests Bangladesh has huge untapped opportunities in textile recycling.