Redirecting Textile Knowledge; An Innovative Approach to Recycling
This paper identifies an opportunity to design a localised textile waste system in New Zealand which provides the raw material required to develop a value added, closed loop, innovative and sustainable textile product. Sustainability is a key challenge of our time. The mass production processes of the apparel industry create large volumes of waste posing significant sustainability issues at all levels. New Zealand is a wasteful country that has up until recently managed textile waste recycling by exporting or landfilling the problem. Ministry for the Environment records indicate 100 million kilos of textile waste is disposed of into New Zealand’s landfill annually. At present options for unwanted textile waste in New Zealand are limited. The emergent crisis of textile waste stream management requires systems change and new forms of collaboration to be researched, designed and actuated. This paper challenges some of the complexities surrounding an unsustainable manufacturing cycle and the associated problems of textile waste. This research directly engages with individual New Zealand companies and re-circuit their waste manufacturing streams. A customised design solution that tangibly maximises the utility of an individual company’s textile waste is illustrated. The intervention into the established system reveals itself as a reconfiguration of sustainable practice. The paper explores the nature of new knowledge generation in this area, how it was gained, distributed and deployed. Tacit and experiential materials knowledge about textiles is extended by the designers’ phenomenological experience and subsequent knowledge brought about by iterative practice. Design led strategies serve as a platform to demonstrate how to re-design and initiate a new pathway for the New Zealand apparel sectors textile waste, to initiate change.