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Looking into the kaleidoscope: different views on reuse and recycling of clothes
University of Borås, School of Business and IT.
University of Borås, School of Business and IT.
2012 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Sustainable development
The content falls within the scope of Sustainable Development
Abstract [en]

A major environmental problem in Sweden is the fact that clothes are disposed of in the garbage rather than being reused or recycled. A study (Carlsson et al. 2011) indicates that 8 kg textiles are disposed of in the garbage per individual and year. Another study (Gustafsson and Ekström 2012) shows that 62 percent of the Swedes dispose usable clothes in the garbage. From an environmental perspective, it would be more beneficial to reuse or recycle textiles. In addition, producing textiles requires natural resources. For example, in order to produce 1 kg cotton, it takes between 7.000-29.000 litre water and between 0,3 to 1 kg oil (Fletcher 2008). Factors contributing to the high amount of clothes disposed of are an emphasis on fast fashion, low prices, increased welfare as well as more consumers following the fashion. However, this pattern of consumption is not sustainable in the long run (Ekström et al. 2012). The purpose of this paper is to increase the understanding of how clothing consumption can be more sustainable by demonstrating how a network consisting of different clothing retailers, recycling companies, charity organizations, consumer organizations, environmental organizations, branch organizations and authorities discuss and deal with this problem. The paper focuses on how they work with reuse and recycling today, but also on what they consider as important, for themselves as well as others, to do in the future in order to increase the level of reuse and recycling of clothes. The empirical data is based on a survey as well as the results from six one- day meetings in the network over 1,5 years time. The results show that there are individual as well as collaborative ways to deal with the problem. The participants in the network agree upon several things. First of all, they recognise the need that all the actors in the network have to contribute and collaborate to solve the problem. Second, there has to be long term solutions that are both environmentally as well as financially sound. Third, a consumer perspective that centres on solutions that enables consumers to act more environmentally friendly is a prerequisite in order to reduce disposal of clothes in the garbage and instead increase reuse and recycling. Finally, the role of marketing is pervasive for succeeding to solve this problem both by making the consumers aware of the effects clothes disposal have on the environment, but also by communicating to the consumer that there are alternative ways to dispose of clothes such as reuse and recycling. In order to approach the problem of how consumption can be more sustainable, a kaleidoscopic outlook presenting different views and solutions is suggested.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012.
Keywords [en]
Consumption, Sustainablity, Reuse, Recycling, Network, Textiles, Clothes, Consumer behavior, Sustainablity
National Category
Economics and Business Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Bussiness and IT
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-6852Local ID: 2320/11612OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hb-6852DiVA, id: diva2:887559
Conference
Nordic Retail and Wholesale Conference, Lund, Sweden, 7-8 nov
Available from: 2015-12-22 Created: 2015-12-22 Last updated: 2016-11-23Bibliographically approved

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Ekström, Karin MSalomonson, Nicklas

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Citation style
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