Kenyan Fashion: Making Kenya’s Fashion Industry More Efficient

Kenya’s apparel sector needs to close the loop. In Kenya, over 400,000 tons of cotton waste is produced by the garment industry each year.
Global climate goals may or may not be met because of the fashion sector. The second largest consumer of water, this sector accounts for 4-10% of global emissions.
The second largest consumer of water, this sector accounts for 4-10% of global emissions.
The continued increase in global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could exacerbate the situation as incomes rise everywhere and customers buy new clothes more often.
To keep warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius, the industry will need to cut emissions by 45% in absolute terms by 2030. Without swift action, emissions will rise to 1.588 gigatonnes by 2030.

To achieve this reduction in emissions, the industry will have to contend with the large amount of waste it generates. One factor is post-manufacturing textile waste. This is because up to 20% of the fabric used to make clothes is lost. Through transportation to landfills and emissions emitted during fiber combustion, this waste produces its own emissions.

Waste management is particularly difficult in East Africa. The region produces a significant portion of the world’s textile manufacturing, resulting in a significant amount of post-production waste.
Kenya’s garment industry produces an estimated 400,000 tonnes of cotton waste each year.

Despite the ability to recycle materials, manufacturers do not have solutions to create value from circular waste that preserve the value of textiles. For this reason, textiles are often replaced by inferior materials with limited usefulness, such as floor mats, pillow fillings, and insulation.

Innovative waste reduction strategies are needed in the apparel industry, especially in East Africa.
The successful implementation of these solutions is evidenced by a partnership in Kenya.
Their work may offer important lessons for other countries as they transition their fashion business to more sustainable practices.
As a result, both global climate goals and economic growth are driven by this change.

A new alliance is changing the fashion industry.
Reducing waste throughout the supply chain, from manufacturing to recycling, requires intermediaries that can transform waste into sustainable raw materials for the production of new garments.
Closing the textile waste loop in Kenya will meet that need.
They utilize a state-of-the-art chemical recycling process created by the American company PurFi. This turns textile waste into high quality products that can be recycled many times with fresh products.

To reduce waste, the fashion industry in East Africa and beyond needs innovative solutions.

Compared to traditional methods of recycling textile waste, the system uses 99% less water, emits up to 90% less greenhouse gases and uses 90% less energy.
With more than 15,000 chemicals used in the production of clothing, some of which are toxic, the use of chemicals in itself is not environmentally friendly. However, PurFi’s state-of-the-art rejuvenation technology maintains a closed process that absorbs recycled chemicals back into the fabric.

This collaboration not only has a positive effect on the climate, but also shows how social equity and environmental impact are intertwined. We provide training to unemployed women in the neighborhood and help them secure fair and stable employment to support their families.

The 36,000 kg of garbage processed by the female-only sorting staff per month has increased to 100,000 kg per month.
This collaboration has so far sold 100,000 kg of textile cotton waste in bulk.

A successful 2018 project in India, managed by the nonprofit Enviu, served as the foundation for this multi-stakeholder program that includes PurFi and Upset Sourcing East Africa.
Kenya’s lack of recycling options and increased textile manufacturing provided an ideal environment for cooperation to emulate the Indian model.
The Global Goals 2030 (P4G) and Partnering for Green Growth (P4G) State-of-the-Art Partnership Awards recognize the world’s most important collaborations driving new business models each year.

Closing the Loop on Textile Waste has been awarded the 2021 Partnership of the Year Award presented at COP26 for its efforts to revolutionize textile recycling across Africa.

The Future of Kenya’s Fashion Industry and Closing the Loop
The work to close the loop comes at a critical time as Kenya’s importance in the fashion sector is growing rapidly.
Kenya’s Four Strategies focus on creating jobs and improving living conditions in the manufacturing sector, citing the recovery of the local textile industry as one of the country’s top priorities.
The expansion of textile manufacturing for export has also been facilitated by recent trade agreements and the establishment of special economic zones.
As a result, Kenya’s textile and apparel exports are expected to grow by 25% annually over the next five years.

Although Kenya’s textile sector will grow significantly, post-production waste is already accumulating as a result.
With two key strategies, the cooperation aims to develop with the sector and include recycling methods in the supply chain.

1. Public-Private Partnerships
Closing the Loop has the unique potential to help both government agencies and clothing manufacturers address the problem of textile waste thanks to its waste-to-value solutions.

The Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development of Kenya’s Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) is responsible for fostering export-oriented business projects and participates in cooperation.
EPZA needs a viable circular solution to manage the vast amount of textile waste generated in-house by a major clothing manufacturer. 450 new production lines are being built simultaneously within EPZA, increasing the amount of post-production waste.

Closing the loop can help EPZA by working together to provide the circular solution EPZA currently lacks. As a result of the partnership’s access to textile waste produced on both old and new production lines, they are able to recycle even more material.

Meanwhile, in Kenya, a waste management company and a producer have signed a procurement contract together. This collaboration builds extensive connections with vendors so they can accurately track waste throughout their supply chains. Product traceability is often difficult given the complex network of intermediaries that source and produce items. By working closely with various companies to improve waste reduction and recycling, we can better identify areas where waste is generated.

2. Improved scale and efficiency
Through our partnership, Clothing the Loop will be able to access and recycle more waste than ever before. On the one hand, cooperation needs to be more effective and on a larger scale in order to be able to deal with such a large amount of waste. In light of this, Closing the Loop plans to grow by moving to a larger location with access to more tools, staff members, and post-production materials. Alliances can sift through the vast amounts of garbage they receive as a result.

Solving environmental problems in textile production will not only mitigate climate change, but will add a total of $192 billion to the global economy by 2030.

Expanding their work will bring economic benefits to the partnership and the communities they serve, in addition to significantly reducing waste. As the amount of waste from the supplier increases and the output of the sorter increases, the price per kilogram of sorted waste decreases. Furthermore, this will enable the collaboration to continue to create socially just jobs and support Kenya’s four agendas.

In the long term, Closing the Loop aims to spread its technology across Kenya and build a strong network of neighboring textile waste centers. Recycled post-production waste is returned to the original producer by this network. They allow waste to flow continuously for regeneration.

If the agreement is successful, it will greatly help Kenya’s textile industry to move from current inefficient informal disposal methods to a formal circular system.

Establishment of a globally sustainable fashion business
Efforts to close the textile waste loop show that it is feasible to move towards circular textile waste management, promote social equity and create jobs in the areas where the sector is most adversely affected. is showing.
This comprehensive model shows how local solutions can contribute to the transition to sustainable practices. Additionally, some solutions may have significant advantages. By 2030, addressing the textile industry’s environmental challenges could give the global economy $192 billion in benefits on top of mitigating climate change.

Like Closing the Loop, P4G is building a collaborative network that turns waste into textiles, plastics and resources for the food industry.

The completion of the loop is based on synergies with P4Circular G’s fashion partnership. The partnership brings together brands, producers and recyclers to increase the value of waste by recycling it into new textile products in Bangladesh. By working together and exchanging lessons learned on textile reuse and recycling around the world, these partnerships will increase impact, increase transparency and the ability to track waste throughout the global fashion chain. I have it.

The world needs more cutting-edge business models that can quickly change established processes. These models can be advanced through partnerships across the supply chain, but must have support from financiers and fashion industry participants. With Closing the Loop leadership, we can achieve the scale and collaboration needed to develop a truly sustainable fashion sector.

Photo credit shop Zetu & African Yuva

Content provided by: World Resources Institute, green biz & NFH

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