On a small island in the UK, one company has built a solution big enough to tackle the
problem of waste in the fashion industry. And the good news – anyone can be a part of it.
Every day, worldwide, 274 million items of clothing are produced. 99 percent of those will end up in landfill. It’s a system that doesn’t make much sense, because in spite of what we call them – trash, waste, rubbish – materials are worth something. Whilst the problem is huge, the
solution is simple: take the linear economy we currently have, where we make, use and then waste products, and turn it into a circular one. That way we can take material from the end and use it at the start to make new products, so nothing is wasted.
So, a factory on the Isle of Wight off England's south coast, is packed with unique technology that enables a truly circular economy. At one end, certified organic cotton t-shirts are pre-
treated, printed and packed for shipping, in the seconds after they’ve been ordered. At the
other end, worn out products are returned to be recycled into new, high quality clothing.
Each t-shirt the company, Teemill, produces comes with a barcode, and when it’s worn out customers can scan the barcode and return it - ready to make into a new t-shirt, and
the customer gets a discount off their next purchase.
“This is our recipe for progress: Design out waste from the model itself, using tech if that’s
what it takes, then reinvest the savings to make progress on sustainability,” says Mart Drake-
Knight, Teemill co-founder
Teemill have built a real solution to the T-shirt waste problem, that anyone can be a part of. You could even create your own clothing brand. Just make your designs, create your online store, and every time one of your customers places an order Teemill makes the T-shirt and ships it for you. They even handle any returns. And, when the item is worn out, your customer sends it back to be recycled and gets a store credit.
Here's a 90 second primer on how the 'circular t-shirt' technology works...
Today's Magazine articles