Bras fit for Burying: Australia to set a World-First Standard for Composting Textiles | Australian Fashion
The fashion industry is responsible for an enormous amount of waste and pollution globally. Clothes that are no longer wearable often end up in landfills, taking years to break down and releasing harmful gases in the process. This is where composting textiles comes in. Australia is set to introduce a world-first standard for composting textiles and in this blog post, we will discuss how this will affect the fashion industry, specifically bras, and how they can be buried.
The Problem with Conventional Bras
Traditional bras are made from synthetic materials, such as nylon and polyester, which are petroleum-based and do not break down easily. According to the Greenpeace “Detox My Fashion” report, the production of synthetic textiles is responsible for 16% of the world’s annual, man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, synthetic fabrics release microplastics when washed, which end up in waterways and oceans, harming marine life and ecosystems.
In addition to the environmental impact, traditional bras are often uncomfortable and do not fit properly. They are made with underwires and padding, which can cause discomfort and even damage to the breast tissue. Furthermore, they are often overpriced and of low quality, meaning they do not last very long, contributing to the disposable culture.
Introducing Composting Textiles
Composting textiles is an alternative solution to traditional textile disposal that provides a renewable source of organic matter for the soil. Textiles made from natural fibres, such as cotton or hemp, can break down easily in a compost bin, without releasing harmful chemicals or polluting the environment. However, synthetic fibres, such as nylon or polyester, do not decompose in a typical compost pile and require special treatment.
To address this issue, Australia is set to introduce a world-first voluntary standard for composting textiles in late 2021. The standard aims to provide a certification process for compostable textiles that will allow them to be safely buried in community compost bins or home composting systems. The certification process will test the textiles to ensure that there are no harmful chemicals present, that they break down readily, and that they do not release pollutants into the environment.
So, what does this mean for bras? With the introduction of the composting textiles standard in Australia, bras made from natural fibres, such as cotton or bamboo, will be able to be composted at home or in community compost bins. However, bras made from synthetic materials cannot be composted in the same way and should not be thrown in the trash.
If you are looking to dispose of an old bra, here are some steps to follow:
Step 1: Remove any metal or plastic parts, such as hooks and underwires, from the bra. These can be recycled or disposed of in the trash.
Step 2: Cut the bra into small pieces to speed up the decomposition process.
Step 3: If the bra is made from natural fibres, such as cotton or bamboo, it can be composted in a home compost bin or community compost bin.
Step 4: If the bra is made from synthetic materials, such as nylon or polyester, it should not be composted. It can be recycled, donated or trashed appropriately.
Australia is set to lead the way in composting textiles with the introduction of a world-first standard. Composting textiles provides an alternative solution to traditional textile disposal, which contributes to the environmental pollution and degradation. With the certification process, textiles made from natural fibres can easily be composted at home or in community compost bins. Bras made from natural fibres can also be buried using this method. However, bras made from synthetic materials should be disposed of carefully following the appropriate recycling or trashing methods. By composting textiles, we can contribute to a sustainable and greener future.
– Greenpeace. (2016). Detox – global teamwork to clean up fashion. https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/reports/detox/
– Textile Exchange. (2021). Regenerative Organic Certification. https://textileexchange.org/about/regenerative-organic-certification/