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Australia becomes the world’s largest consumer of textiles per capita: Report


Driving a fast fashion waste crisis, Australians now purchase more clothing per person than any other country, as per a new research report by the Australia Institute. The study reveals, overtaking US, Australia has become the world’s largest consumer of textiles per capita, largely due to fast fashion, which often ends up in landfills.

Findings from the research report indicate, on an average Australians purchase 56 new clothing items per year, surpassing the US at 53 items, the UK at 33 items, and China at 30 items. The average value per item purchased by Australians is AUD $13, significantly lower than in the UK ($40), US ($24), Japan ($30), or Brazil ($16). Annually, more than 200,000 tons of clothes are discarded into landfills, equivalent to nearly four Sydney Harbor Bridges in weight, as per a report by Textile Waste in Australia.

The report recommends several policy measures to curb fast fashion waste, including implementing a French-style fast fashion tax, banning the export of textile waste within five years, and providing government-funded discounts for garment repairs. It also calls for federal investment in developing an Australian circular textiles industry and increased support for community op shops and recycling initiatives.

Polling by the Australia Institute indicates that nearly 63 percent of the Australians are concerned or very concerned about the environmental impact of textile waste. When asked who should be responsible for eliminating this waste, 71 percent pointed to businesses, followed by consumers at 57 percent and the government at 54 percent.

The research also highlights a gap in public knowledge regarding textile materials. Fewer than half (46 percent) of respondents could identify petroleum as the source of polyester, and only 27 percent were aware that more than half of the clothes sold in Australia are made from plastic.


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