d Alternatively rather than aiding disposal several companies and labels are

D alternatively rather than aiding disposal several

This preview shows page 9 - 11 out of 15 pages.

items in special Shwop Drop bins in our stores’ (Marks and Spencer, n.d.). Alternatively, rather than aiding disposal, several companies and labels are taking back their own products after the customers no longer have use for them. Following along in the spirit of transparency, the question arises ‘what happens next to these 130 Disposal and reincarnation returned or take-back garments?’ The question is not often broached during interviews, and few companies give specifc details other than weights, if that. In its CSR report: Conscious Actions Highlights 2014, H&M states: ‘We collected more than 7,600 tonnes of garments that were no longer wanted. That’s as much fabric as in over 38 million T-shirts’ (H&M, 2015). By way of a comparison, haute couture houses have always taken back garments as part of the client relationship with the house: providing a remake service for their garment for clients or a relative, enabled by the wider seam allowances used in couture ateliers, among other practices, as previously mentioned. Decomposition; the forensics of disposal In as much as visiting a landfll site would be confronting, the length of time garments take to decompose is even more shocking. Archeologically, there are instances of fabric surviving for many hundreds of years. When one considers that for centuries, there were no man-made fbres such as the relatively recent invention of polyester, simply wool, hemp, linen and cottons, fbre content becomes even more signifcant. In most cases, the longevity of survival is dependent on natural fbres being undisturbed. There are a variety of elements at work in the average land- fll, the four main ones being: temperature, moisture, bacteria and light. The length of time of decomposition varies according to the fabric be it natural or manmade and their reactions to the amount of exposure to the four elements listed above. William L. Rathje started the Garbage Project in 1973 at the Uni- versity of Arizona, which developed into a stream of contemporary archaeology and applied anthropology in 1987. With his team of staf and students, he drilled down into landfll to discover more about contemporary American culture from what had been discarded. His discoveries challenged current beliefs regarding landfll decomposition fnding that natural objects, ‘food and lawn waste, were found mummifed in the airless depths of
Image of page 9
sanitary landflls’ (University of Arizona, 2012). Therefore, it would be unwise to imagine that organic cotton would decay quickly, without the correct conditions for cotton decomposition. Furthermore, as matter decomposes, it can give of gases (some hazardous) and heat; consequently, the decomposition of a benign fabric garment can contribute to air pollution. The impact of the waste of materials is worrying if plastics are considered. In 2011, researchers at the Earth Engineering Center, at New York’s Columbia University calculated that in the US, ‘6.5% of the plastic generated is recycled, 7.7% is combusted with energy recovery and 85.7% is landflled’; whilst noting that in 2009 ‘2.1 million tonnes of plastics were recycled’. Yet they also observed ‘less than 15%
Image of page 10
Image of page 11

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 15 pages?

  • Spring '19

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture