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  • David Connolly

Durability vs Recyclability: Whats more 'sustainable'



"In a perfect world, the clothes we wear would be both durable enough to have a long life and fully recyclable once worn out. 💯 However, the reality is, durability and recyclability are often conflicting goals. When you design for recyclability, you often give up durability, and when you design for durability, recyclability is often sacrificed.


Why?


In terms of textile recycling, the materials used to make the most durable products are often challenging — sometimes impossible — to pull apart and recycle.


For example, suppose a synthetic fabric is used to design a product to make it, fast drying and waterproof. In that case, the garment will now last longer. It may even need to be washed less depending on the technical enhancement. Additionally, a durable garment is more likely to be resold secondhand instead of discarded. However, the synthetics in the fabric make it nearly impossible for that garment to be recycled. While companies are pioneering new technology and pushing innovations in textile-to-textile recycling forward, there isn't currently infrastructure or the ability to recycle mixed fiber garments at scale. Even recycling "mono materials" like cotton presents its own challenges.


So, what's more sustainable? Would you rather buy a garment or a pair of shoes that won't last as long but can be recycled? Or, buy something that will last for years and can have a second life with another user but will eventually end up in a landfill?


In the newest episode of the Crash Course Fashion podcast, SFF founder Brittany Sierra asked @for___days founder Kristy Caylor her thoughts on whether durability or recyclability is more important when designing for a circular economy. They also talked about the root of overproduction, why understanding the psychology of human behavior is key to customer participation in circular fashion, and given the limitations of textile recycling, how For Days engages its customer in the conversation without greenwashing."


See the article: here



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