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Stella McCartney's new campaign trims textile waste

Fashion designer Stella McCartney has joined forces with circular economy campaigner Ellen MacArthur to kickstart a new push to reduce textile waste across the fashion industry after new figures lay bare the shocking levels of waste generated by the sector.

According to a new report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is wasted every second, while less than 1 percent of old clothing is recycled into new garments.

If left unchecked, the scale of waste means the fashion industry will consume a quarter of the world's carbon budget by 2050, the report warns.

Speaking today at the launch of the report, Stella McCartney — head of the ethical fashion label by the same name — will call for designers and retailers to mend their ways to ensure clothes last longer, can be rented or resold more easily and can be recycled or disposed of without harming the environment.

Boosting circular practices in the fashion industry also could unlock an extra $500 billion in economic value, McCartney and MacArthur also will argue.

"What really excites me about [the report], 'A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion's future' is that it provides solutions to an industry that is incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment," McCartney said ahead of the event today.

If left unchecked, the scale of waste means the fashion industry will consume a quarter of the world's carbon budget by 2050.

"The report presents a roadmap for us to create better businesses and a better environment. It opens up the conversation that will allow us to find a way to work together to better our industry, for the future of fashion and for the future of the planet."

The report's findings already have been endorsed by other major fashion retailers including NIKE, H&M, C&A and Lenzing.

The news comes as a survey this month of more than 2,000 British shoppers from waste advisory body WRAP reveals three-quarters of shoppers want their clothing to last, but only 63 percent say they look for durability when buying a piece of new clothing.

Meanwhile, 29 percent of shoppers want clothes to be ethically produced, but only 23 percent actively look out for ethical production information when out clothes shopping.

WRAP said this "intention-action" gap could be partly explained by a lack of environmental information being provided by retailers in store.

The survey also revealed older people are more likely to donate their clothes to a charity shop, while 6 percent of respondents admitted to throwing old clothes straight into the rubbish bin.

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