Shifting from linear to circular economy holds the potential to create new avenues of value within the waste chain. Bangladesh, the second largest garment exporter in the world, is a big producer of pre-consumer waste. The country can turn this challenge into an opportunity through moving towards a circular economy.
The observations came from a panel of distinguished industry leaders, manufacturers, buyers representatives and experts who took part in a lively discussion on a topic “unlocking the waste value chain with an integrated circular approach.”
The discussion was as a part of a dialogue titled “Switch to Upstream Circularity: Pre-consumer Textile Waste in Bangladesh.” It took place in the Amari Hotel in Dhaka on September 3.
This event was organized under the Switch to Circular Economy Value Chains project (SWITCH2CE), co-funded by the European Union and the Government of Finland. SWITCH2CE is led by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in collaboration with Chatham House, Circle Economy, and European Investment Bank, and supports the switch to circularity in selected global value chains.
Distinguished panelists included Abdur Rahim Khan, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Bangladesh; Abu Syed Belal, Trade Counselor, EU Delegation to Bangladesh; Francesca Rulli, Founder-Process Factory & Sustainability Manager; Faisal Rabbi, Stakeholder Engagement & Public Affairs Manager – H&M; and Nin Castle, Co-Founder, Reverse Resources.
Moderated by Barrister Vidiya Amrit Khan, Director, BGMEA, the panelists discussed the challenges and opportunities of transforming pre-consumer waste within the garment and textile industries.
They also shared ideas about how collaborative efforts between waste management companies, traceability solution providers, and recyclers can create an efficient waste value chain.
The panelists discussed the current extent of pre-consumer waste in the Bangladeshi textile industry, the environmental and economic impacts of this waste, and the potential benefits of a circular economy approach.
They also explored the role of government policies, international partnerships, and technology in promoting circularity in the textile industry.
The discussants highlighted the importance of collaboration between government, industry, and academia in developing and implementing circular economy policies.
They also opined that technology can play a key role in tracking and tracing waste materials, which can help to improve efficiency and transparency in the recycling process.
Technology can be used to develop new recycling and upcycling processes that can help to create new value from waste materials, they observed.
The panelists agreed that this is a complex challenge, but they expressed optimism that it can be achieved through collaboration and innovation.