Post-Use Materials refers to materials that have been previously used by users and are no longer needed in their original form. In the fashion domain, post-use materials typically refer to textiles and clothing items that have reached the end of their life cycle and are ready for disposal or recycling.

Post-use materials encompass various types of textiles and garments that have served their primary purpose and are no longer suitable for continued use. These materials can include worn-out or damaged clothing, discarded textile scraps, surplus inventory, or even products returned by customers. Instead of being discarded as waste, these materials can be redirected into recycling or upcycling processes to create new products or extend their lifespan.

The concept of post-use materials aligns with the principles of circular economy and sustainable fashion. Rather than perpetuating a linear “take-make-dispose” model, post-use materials present an opportunity to recover and reintegrate valuable resources back into the fashion supply chain. By collecting, sorting, and processing these materials, fashion brands and manufacturers can reduce the environmental impact associated with production and minimize waste generation.

In addition to recycling, post-use materials can also be repurposed or upcycled. Repurposing involves transforming the materials into new products or applications, while upcycling entails creating higher-value products from the existing materials. These approaches contribute to the reduction of resource consumption and promote a more sustainable and circular fashion industry.

Case studies

Worn Again Technologies

Worn Again Technologies is a UK-based company focused on textile recycling. They have developed a patented chemical recycling technology that can separate and extract polyester and cotton from end-of-use textiles. By breaking down post-use materials into their raw components, they can be used as inputs for the production of new textiles and garments.

For Days

For Days is a subscription-based clothing brand that operates on a closed-loop system. Customers can return their used For Days garments, and in return, they receive new items. The returned garments are then processed through recycling or upcycling methods to create new products, reducing waste and extending the life cycle of the materials.

The Renewal Workshop

The Renewal Workshop is a company that specializes in renewing and restoring post-user clothing and textiles. They partner with apparel brands to recover damaged or unsellable garments, repair them, and reintroduce them into the market. By extending the life of these products, they help reduce waste and promote a more sustainable approach to fashion.

Closed Loop Partners

Closed Loop Partners is an investment firm that focuses on circular economy solutions. They have invested in various companies and initiatives that promote the use of post-use materials in fashion. Their portfolio includes businesses involved in textile recycling, upcycling, and innovative material technologies.

Yerdle Recommerce

Yerdle Recommerce is a company that enables brands to launch their own buyback and resale programs. They work with fashion brands to implement take-back initiatives, where customers can return their used items for resale. Yerdle handles the logistics, refurbishment, and resale of these products, contributing to waste reduction and circularity.

Zero Waste Daniel

Zero Waste Daniel is a sustainable fashion brand known for its zero-waste approach. The designer, Daniel Silverstein, creates unique and stylish garments using fabric scraps and post-user materials. By incorporating post-use materials into his designs, he showcases the creative possibilities of waste reduction and sustainable fashion.

Rapanui

Rapanui is a UK-based fashion brand that focuses on transparency and sustainability. They have developed a traceability system called “Teemill” that allows customers to track the life cycle of their garments, from raw materials to production and end-of-life options. Rapanui also offers a take-back program where customers can return their worn-out items for recycling.

References

https://ecostandard.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/ECOS-REPORT-HOW-ECODESIGN-CAN-MAKE-OUR-TEXTILES-CIRCULAR

Hvass, Kerli Kant. “Post-retail responsibility of garments–a fashion industry perspective.” Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management 18.4 (2014): 413-430.

Provin, A. P. “Regina de Aguiar Dutra, A., Machado, MM, & Vieira Cubas, AL (2021). New materials for clothing: Rethinking possibilities through a sustainability approach—A review.” Journal of Cleaner Production 282: 124444.

Chen, Xuandong, et al. “Circular Economy and sustainability of the clothing and textile Industry.” Materials Circular Economy 3 (2021): 1-9.

Abbate, S., Centobelli, P., Cerchione, R. et al. Sustainability trends and gaps in the textile, apparel and fashion industries. Environ Dev Sustain (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-022-02887-2

Aus, R., Moora, H., Vihma, M. et al. Designing for circular fashion: integrating upcycling into conventional garment manufacturing processes. Fash Text 8, 34 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40691-021-00262-9