Moving the Needle on textiles in landfill

Media release

13 October 2019

As Australian shoppers enter their peak buying time for new clothes, the Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley, has joined the nation’s biggest charity retailers to encourage shoppers to Move the Needle on clothing waste.

Move the Needle is a new campaign to reduce the 311,000 tonnes of clothing wasted in landfill each year by encouraging fashion consumers to use every new purchase as a reminder to donate their past purchases to charity.

Moving the Needle brings together brands and charity retailers to engage people in reducing impacts on our environment – while still looking on-trend for summer.

Minister Ley joined Salvo Stores General Manager of Customer and Strategy Edwina Morgan, Australian Red Cross Head of Retail Richard Wood and Executive Officer Retail Transformation, Vinnies NSW, Susan Goldie at a ‘reverse pop-up’ store in Sydney’s Chatswood Chase where shoppers deposit, rather than purchase clothes.

The average Australian buys 27 kilograms of new textiles each year and at the same time accounts for 23kg of textile waste going to landfill. Move the Needle is targeting a 20% reduction in textile waste by 2022.

“Summer fashion season and Christmas shopping are when people shop the most for new clothes and we want them to continue to support Australian designers and retailers,” Minister Ley said.

“Moving the needle is about re-purposing the not so old clothes that you no longer wear and donating them to a local charity. For every new outfit donate an older one that might hiding in the back of the closet to help raise funds for those in need.”

Chief Executive of National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations Omer Soker, said that donating to charity is an excellent way of keeping clothes out of landfill.

“Charitable donations can extend the life of pre-loved, usable products, by keeping them out of landfill. Giving your clothes a second life for even nine months could reduce carbon, water and waste emissions by up to 30%. And you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing your donations make a huge social impact, with the proceeds going to social welfare programs to help the most disadvantaged people and communities.

“Moving the Needle encourages customers to extend the life of their clothing by donating to one of 3,000 charitable donation points across the country which will also help reduce the number of textiles sent to landfill here in Australia.

“By beginning to encourage customers at a national scale to donate clothing, we can start a movement which will take a big step towards reducing the impact clothing is having on our environment. This will allow brands, charity retailers and customers to build the future of circularity with textiles in Australia.”

Minister for the Environment