Consumers should buy good quality clothing rather than fast fashion, according to Salvation Army national recycling coordinator Paul Ozanne.
His comments come after the publication of the House of Lords Science Committee report on Waste Reduction last week. The Committee looked at the growth of 'fast fashion' and pointed out that the increasing use of cheap fabrics for clothes intended to be worn for a short period of time and then thrown away makes recycling fabric more difficult and is reflective of an increasingly 'throwaway society'.
Recent figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that UK consumers spend £23 billion per annum on clothing and footwear. They spend 7% of their total expenditure income on clothing and footwear.
Paul Ozanne told MRW: People should buy good quality clothing which in the longer term lasts longer and retains its value rather than buying into fast fashion.
It will be difficult to change the publics perception of fast fashion but it can be done.
The Committee also supported the development of eco-labels to provide clear information on the types of materials used within a product and provide a rating regarding its sustainability.
Ozanne said that labelling will help but that it is only part of the equation. He added that educating the public about waste issues was the key to solving the problem.
The Salvation Army is responsible for around 2,750 of the UKs 9,000 charity clothing banks.
Ozanne added: We believe that a combination of the credit crunch, improving conditions in Eastern European countries together with the emergence of fast fashion may well lead to a surplus of clothing or a lowering of quality which could in the future significantly reduce the value, possibly below the cost of collection. It may be necessary for subsidies to be implemented if we are going to cut collection of clothing and thought should be given to this possible scenario prior to it being necessary.