Waste reducing fashion NGO, Redress unveiled their imposing YWASTE? exhibit, which contains 360kg of discarded secondhand clothes, that approximately represent the amount of textiles dumped into Hong Kong’s landfills every two minutes, at Hong Kong’s K11 from 7-20 July.
The exhibit, in collaboration with clothing care experts, Miele, with design by students from Hong Kong Baptist University’s Academy of Visual Arts, raises awareness about our shockingly high clothing and textile waste rates that we collectively generate and the negative environmental impacts associated with discarding them into landfill.
Christina Dean, Founder of Redress said, ‘Clothing and textile waste rates around the world are now at horrific levels, which we need tackle urgently. We are now buying and treating clothes like disposable goods. When we consume so much, we tend to dispose of more and this unpalatable pattern of clothing waste, which we see in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the world, is creating vast negative environmental and social impacts.’
In Hong Kong, an estimated 98,550 tonnes of textiles are sent into landfills per year. This could represent approximately 11,250 garments finding their way into Hong Kong landfills every hour. The YWASTE? sculpture’s letters visualise these high levels, containing textiles equivalent to the amount entering Hong Kong’s landfills every two minutes.
Compounding the issues surrounding increased consumption, many consumers do not know how to care for their clothes adequately and so many unnecessarily end up into landfill with avoidable and treatable rips and stains long before their clothing’s true end of life. Ultimately, this means that all of the resources that went into producing our clothes, from the various raw materials, energy and water used during production, are also wasted.
Richard Green, Marketing Director of Miele Hong Kong, who also supported the collection of the clothes used within the exhibit through a previous clothing drive, said, ‘We are pleased to be partnering with Redress on the Y WASTE? initiative, driving awareness of unnecessary and avoidable clothing waste in Hong Kong. Miele are keen advocates for better consumer care when it comes to clothing, and hope that fashion consumers are increasingly motivated to keep their clothes in use for longer, through better care and thus out of landfills.’
The Y WASTE? exhibit asks consumers to question their relationship with their clothes and provides supporting information on the issues, with advice about how individuals can create positive change through their wardrobes. In addition educational side activities complement the exhibit, including DIY fashion workshops and an educational talk, which are both open to the public.
YWASTE? Ambassador, model Elva Ni is adding her voice to these issues and galvanising the community to care more for their clothes. ‘I encourage everybody to cherish their clothes more and be part of a positive change to help reduce waste before it’s too late for our environment’,she said.
Also supporting this initiative is Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department. “The issue of waste, from fashion to food, is highly important to our community. It’s pleasing to see this YWASTE? initiative probe fundamental questions and to see that private sector, academia and the NGO sectors are combining their voices with this creative visual piece that underpins the need for change,” said Christine Loh, Undersecretary for the Environment.
Following the exhibit, all clothes within the sculpture will be donated to local charities to drive broader benefits to the Hong Kong community.
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Full exhibit details, statistics and consumer tips can be found at: www.redress.com.hk/ywaste
For downloadable images please visit: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/j9hta6kpq0r0a96/AACuwahyMG5dCs8EsQ4R2Rs5a?dl=0
Increased consumption: One of the main reasons that clothing and textile waste rates are now so high is because of the change in the mainstream fashion market. Over the last decade, fast fashion has given consumers widespread access to cheaper clothes. Along the way, it has allowed us to buy more clothes. In the UK, sales of new clothing increasing by 60% in the first decade of this century.
About Redress (www.redress.com.hk)
Redress is the NGO with a mission to promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption. They achieve this via educational sustainable fashion competitions, shows, exhibitions, seminars, research and by a recycled textile clothing standard. They collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders including multiple fashion designers, textile and garment manufacturers, retailers, schools and universities, multilateral organisations, governments, NGOs, financial institutions and media organisations.
About Miele (www.miele.hk)
A global leader in high-quality domestic appliances, Miele was founded over 116 years ago in Gütersloh, Germany. Today, Miele remains a family-owned company with over 17,000 employees worldwide and sales subsidiaries in 47 countries. Miele in Hong Kong was established in 1998 to serve the city’s growing demand for high-end household appliances. Miele’s unwavering passion for exceptional quality and ongoing innovation, as well as the company’s commitment to customer service, has made it one of the most recognizable and highly-regarded premium appliance brands in the world.
About K11 (www.hk.k11.com)
A global high-end lifestyle brand operator under New World Group, K11 is the world’s first original brand to pioneer the blend of three essential elements of Art • People • Nature.
Art - K11 not only displays a permanent collection of local young artists’ works, but also allows the public to appreciate different local artworks and performance during shopping and leisure through the provision of various multi-dimensional spaces. This can help enhance the communication and exchanges between local artists and the public, nurture habits of art appreciation, and allow young artists to have more opportunities for showcasing their works so as to foster the development of local art.
People - K11 manages, reorganizes and integrates humanity, history and geography of the adjacent regions from various perspectives in different cities. It revitalizes, regenerates and recreates the humanistic experience, art and culture in the regions so as to create a unique K11 multicultural living area.
Nature - Various green design and technology concepts are taken into account in the interior architecture of K11 projects so as to minimize the negative impacts on the natural environment and upgrade the overall quality of urban public premises. Designed with a garden concept, K11 features a multidimensional natural landscape with a variety of local plants, green roof, vertical greening and urban farming, and creates a perfect integration of natural space and local culture so that visitors feel like indulging in an urban oasis and are inspired to consider the intimate relationship between human and nature.
Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department (2015), based on 2013 rates
Redress (2015), estimations based on clothing waste comprising 50% of total textile waste, with one garment weighing 500g
 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 2009, Reducing the Environmental Impact of Clothes Cleaning EV0419
 Danish Fashion Institute, 2013