From 23-26 July, the festival will focus on the issue of sustainability, engaging businesses and consumers in improving the environmental credentials of the fashion industry.

The collaboration comes as part of the UK-wide ‘Love Your Clothes’ campaign which encourages people to better value their clothes and buy longer-lasting items.

Zero Waste Scotland chief executive Ian Gulland said: “We’re delighted to be part of such a prestigious event with Edinburgh International Fashion Festival, focusing on an issue which will be crucial to the industry’s future – how best to embed sustainability in its practices.”

Gulland said the festival should help improve best practice from the industry, with the total carbon impacts of textile waste from Scotland hitting 335,190 tonnes of CO2 emissions: “Textiles are big business in Scotland, and making better use of raw materials and lessening the sector’s environmental impact will be crucial to its future success.”

The festival will host a series of events to explore the relationship between the fashion industry and sustainability, with speakers from Vogue, Edinburgh College of Art and fashion brands such as Pringle of Scotland.

Gulland added: “Working with Scotland’s successful textile industry and with clothing retailers operating here is one of the key strands of our circular economy programme.”

Training opportunities

Third sector organisations are also being offered new opportunities to train staff in re-use and upcycling by Zero Waste Scotland. The resource efficiency body is offering grants of up to £1,800 to cover the cost of the course to help train workers in skills for repairing and upcycling four common items: electronic equipment, furniture, bicycles and textiles.

Research carried out by Zero Waste Scotland has found more than 150,000 tonnes of re-usable goods is sent to landfill every year in Scotland. Zero Waste Scotland head of circular economy Louise McGregor said improving repair skills will increase the amount of goods being reused.

“Building on and expanding existing repair skills also has the potential to create many new, sustainable jobs in communities across Scotland,” said McGregor. “We need to preserve the skills we have and attract new young people to learn the skills of repair, which will be increasingly important to our economy in the future.”

Household recycling

Scotland recently announced details of its ‘household recycling charter’, which will make recycling schemes more consistent across the country, with Scotland’s Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead calling on the UK to do more to progress towards a circular economy.

Industry leaders welcomed the plans, a spokesperson for Coca Cola Enterprises said: “Having talked to our consumers about their attitudes to recycling, many are still not clear on what materials can be recycled, what materials are collected by their local authority, what the benefit of recycling is, and many say that schemes can be difficult to understand. This initiative should help make it easier for Scottish householders to recycle.”

Matt Field

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