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The sheer volume of second hand clothing thrown away is fast becoming a waste management crisis across the western world.

The increased pressure on landfill has caught the attention of Australian media and audiences.   According to recently broadcast Chasers War on Waste, 6,000kgs of clothes are thrown away every 10 minutes across Australia.

Charity recycling centres are doing their best but can’t keep up with the volume of clothing. Increasing numbers of items are diverted back to landfill. This trend both fills up landfill sites and increases the workload and processing costs for fundraising agencies reducing income back to charities.

The local Denmark SEW COOL! initiative aims to bring this information and the true impact of a ‘fast fashion’ society to a broader audience across the region.

SEW COOL! will focus on funky up-cycled fashion with a waste minimisation message and a commitment to diverting items from landfill. A range of clothing, sewing and educational workshops and a presence at local community events and fairs are all a part of its waste minimisation and awareness strategy.

The Denmark Tip Shop currently receives an estimated 8 cubic metres of pre-loved clothing per week. 
Of this 3 cubic metres goes into the existing second hand clothes ‘fashion stall’. The remaining 5 cubic metres is sorted into synthetic and non-synthetic materials. The ratio is approximately 60% synthetic and 40% non-synthetic. A large amount of the non-synthetic material is diverted to the Tip-Shop worm farm. The excess is a resource available to be upcycled in the SEW COOL! project.

upcycle, reduce waste, funky fashionThe SEW COOL! range of items will be produced under the creative direction of project development coordinator, Ms Ruth Madren, interested volunteers and workshop participants.  They will then be distributed under the SEW COOL! label, telling the story of waste minimisation, upcycling and local innovation.

This is just the first stage of the SEW COOL! Project.  Once it has been established there is scope to expand the education and skills opportunities for the local community. Groups from other Local Government Areas with similar aspirations will also be invited to visit to share ideas and experiences.

Denmark Tip Shop Manager, James Gentle is excited to see this initiative come to fruition.   “The mountains of clothing arriving at the Tip Shop has just kept on growing. Development of a local fashion label SEW COOL! with a clear message and a range of fun and unique clothing and fashion items for sale will encourage people to think about the impact of fast fashion on the environment.  The project is one good way of doing something positive. “

This project is supported by the Waste Authority through the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Account.

For more information about SEW COOL! or to register your interest please contact Dawn Atkin (08) 9848 3310 or [email protected]

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