Sustainable fashion: does the circular economy really work?

‘Circular economy’ initiatives ranging from take-back programmes to rental services are enabling fashion retailers to enhance their green credentials. But how effective are such schemes in reality? 

The task of establishing a circular fashion economy is widely accepted as crucial, given that a truckload of textiles is being incinerated or buried every second, according to a global estimate by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. 

The charity has also calculated that the under-use of clothing and a lack of garment recycling costs the global economy more than $500bn (£420bn) a year.

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