Today recurs a sadly symbolic day for the fashion industry: 10 years are commemorated since the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh (2013), during which 1,134 textile workers lost their lives. Many things have changed since that day: activists, associations, institutions, companies and consumers have collaborated in spreading a message that makes us more aware of what lies behind the fashion chain we wear, raising awareness towards an approach that integrates economic sustainability with social and environmental sustainability. However this is still not enough.
According to a 2017 report by the Ellen McArthur Foundation, the Fashion supply chain is ranked 4th in terms of environmental impact after those of Transport, Food and Real Estate. This sector is responsible for about 20% of global water waste and, according to an estimate by the European Union (2021), every year around 14 kilos of clothes per capita become waste, of which only 1% is recycled or regenerated. The fashion industry is also "responsible for more than 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions", reads the official page of Earth Day 2022.
Unfortunately, the fashion sector is also ranked among the main culprits of pollution of the 'water because of the chemicals and dyes used in it: "The cultivation of cotton consumes more pesticides than any other crop and the heavy irrigation required carries these pesticides into the surrounding rivers and aquifers" can be read again on the official page of the Earth Day 2022. Another alarming factor is that 60% of all clothing is made up of synthetic fibers such as polyester, a petroleum derivative that contains high levels of microplastics. Washing synthetic clothing therefore releases microplastics and contributes to 35% of all oceanic microplastic pollution.
On the day of the tragedy at Rana Plaza they were producing for some of the big Fast Fashion brands; according to a survey by the Clean Clothes Campaign in Asia, Africa, South America and in many parts of Eastern Europe, over 90% of the workers involved in the production processes do not receive an adequate salary. In these cases the cost of direct production labor accounts for less than 1% of the cost of the product we purchase. The model of overproduction which then gives life to waste that is dispersed into the environment is counterproductive for the environment and for fair and sustainable development.
In this context, the European Union has intervened in regulatory terms in order to facilitate a sustainable transition in the fashion sector. By 2025, all member countries are expected to adopt a regulation that obliges companies in the sector to face the introduction of circular economy logic and practices in a structured way.
We along with Regenesi, a pioneer company in the use of circular economy practices in the fashion sector, have tackled the issue by deciding to produce always using regenerated or recovered material and producing exclusively in Italy; integrating eco-design logics (timeless, recycled and always recyclable products) in everything we do. In 15 years we have also learned a lot about upstream technologies: we therefore decided to found Regenstech an innovative start-up which - through the use of an innovative system for transforming industrial and civil fashion waste - gives life to a new secondary raw material with multiple potential applications.
The project was born in 2019 when we created an R&D team that was able to design and implement an integrated solution in all its components for the transformation of waste in the fashion sector and today we have a set of patents, trademarks, projects and solutions tested effectively.
Regenstech is therefore configured as the first innovative startup on the market able to:
- Provide an industrial plant dedicated to the transformation of industrial and civil textile waste into Secondary Raw Materials, at costs in line with the raw material market;
- Provide the users of their plants with the "Respetto™ mix" necessary for the production of Secondary Raw Materials.
To find out more, visit Respetto.it
We hope the indignation that this day arouses will turn into the desire to find solutions that allow people to take a step forward in this area.