As part of our commitment to sustainability Wise Schools Business Development Manager Lynne Barrington attended the recent Circular Economy workshop run by the Victorian Government to gain input from business, NGOs, academics and community groups for the development of their upcoming Circular Economy policy.
The Circular Economy philosophy and business practices are gaining momentum around the world: The EU has recently introduced a Circular Economy Package to be legislated in all member nations by July 2020, and the South Australian government has a circular economy policy since 2017. Rather than a linear economy of 'take, make, use, dispose', a circular economy works towards a closed loop of design and production for extended use, disassembly, reuse and recycling. A key value is to 'slow the loop' so that goods are durable, and not part of a planned obsolescence.
Quality schoolwear by nature is valued by parents for its longevity. This is in contrast to the troubling throwaway nature of 'fast fashion'. Parents want their children's school clothes to last, both for their child and to be able to sell second-hand. At Wise Schools we are proud of the quality of our schoolwear that is durable and long-lasting. As an example three years ago due to the redesign of the school logo, we replaced the embroidered pocket of over 300 blazers at one of our schools: Some of our blazers we replaced the monogram pocket on were over 20 years old!
Textile recycling is still at it's early stages: inroads have been made into polyester recycling, but this is for 100% polyester. The polywools and polycottons that are used in schoolwear as blended fabrics are difficult to separate: An innovative Australian company Blocktexx has developed a leading-edge process that can separate and recover raw materials from polyester and cotton, but this is still in prototype stage. We are keeping an eye on emerging trends with interest.