I knew the number was low, but I was surprised that only 15% of discarded textiles was recycled or reused, while the rest is sent to landfills or incinerators. Which always makes taking a high value on donated goods difficult. Shipping overstock overseas I knew stopped years ago.
The industry is fragmented, which has created an issue since there are no standards.
Many modern synthetic materials are also hard to recycle. Processing fabrics for reuse is expensive. There is no standard recycling method.
Unfortunately, modern fashion trends of short-lived styles have sharply increased waste, while cheaper clothing and synthetic material have made recycling uneconomical.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is spearheading an initiative
to pinpoint the key roadblocks and foster research to create viable solutions.