Circular economics is a recent economic model that has emerged as a response to the new needs of society and our planet.
These needs have arisen because of the continuous use of a linear economic model, which has been developing since the industrial revolution, with which it has reached a point where there are no longer enough resources to extract, and through which we are contaminating the planet more and more.
Circular economy, as effective path and solution to these problems, proposes a series of changes, such as the reuse of waste to manufacture new products or the manufacture of products that are long lasting in time so as to generate the least possible residues in the slower and more moderate way.
Increasingly, more and more industries are getting involved with the cause and are beginning to be involved in this change.
The Lazaro Project Association is a clear example of a circular economy model in the textile sector. This organization was founded in 1994 in Alicante, Spain. The objective of this initiative works through economic and social management, recycling and reuse of solid urban waste.
- By 2017, the emission of almost 200,000 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere has been avoided.
- Every kilogram of clothes that is reused and not incinerated avoids the emission of 3.17 kg of CO2.
European textile companies barely recycle a fifth of the clothing (20%) they generate. According to Greenpeace’s latest report, Fashion at the croos road, 80% of clothes consumed in the European Union have no outlet, either for a second life or to enter into recycling processes. The environmental consequences of this textile explosion cannot be resolved in the short term. This industry is the second most polluting in the world. Despite the fact that large companies have eliminated many hazardous chemical elements from their factories, their production accounts for 3% of the world’s carbon dioxide, some 850 million tons.
4000 tons of textile waste turned into solidarity.
This activity is designed and managed as a production structure, whose process consists of the collection of textile waste, household goods and bulky items in different municipalities of the province of Alicante, for subsequent selection, reuse and sale in the various second-hand shops located in the cities of Alicante, Elche and Villajoyosa.
It is estimated that 12% is the one capable of taking to the end of the recovery cycle, 54% is the one that is recovered through other social entities, 18% is recycled with specialized entities and only 16% is disposed to incinerators.
From the outset, they have been clear that all the clothes people no longer wear could at all costs prevent them from ending up in a landfill. Not only that, but they also realized that textiles, along with other items destined for garbage, could become a way of promoting social projects.
Lázaro Project is framed in two fundamental axes: social and environmental work.
The management of textile waste brings great social benefits. The Lazaro Project contributes to the creation of green jobs and the social economy by promoting the creation of inclusive, stable and quality jobs.
Helping the planet
The reuse and recycling of textiles favours efficient use of resources, environmental protection and the fight against climate change. They reduce waste in controlled landfills and incineration plants, as well as the emission of greenhouse gases. Every kilogram of clothing that is reused and not incinerated prevents the emission of 3,169 kg of CO2, according to data from the European Commission.
The 18,281 tons collected in Spain in 2017 therefore represents a saving of 57,934 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere. They are equivalent to the annual emission of 21,760 cars (circulating 15,000 km annually) or the annual carbon dioxide uptake of 432,349 trees.