Sustainable future of textiles


The Nyt puhutaan tekstiileistä! (‘Let’s talk about textiles’) blog series has explored end-of-life textiles from various angles. The series has delved into the materials, manufacture and maintenance of textiles. In addition, the series has discussed the collection and sorting of textiles as well as the network developing a circular economy of textiles. The final part peeks into the future. It may be closer than you think…

How do you see the sustainable future of textiles?

Hanna Salmenperä, SYKE

I believe that the sustainable development of textiles will work out, one way or another. Sustainable future does not mean only managing the end of the textile cycle; the start, meaning the design and production of products, will also be changed. There are many other factors to consider as well, such as harmful substances. Securing cycles does not have intrinsic value; it is important to simultaneously ensure that it is sensible for the environment.

Rinna Saramäki

The sustainable future of textiles does not only mean technical progress, as the attitude of consumers towards textile consumption will also change. I hope that some types of digital tools will be developed in the future to allow people to get as much joy and social pleasure our of their clothes as they do now but with less actual consumption. A smartphone or similar could, for example, scan the textile and let the user know how well it will endure washing.

Niina Sinisalo, Kainotar Oy

A great deal is happening at the moment: recycled fibres and their use are taking over, and cotton is being replaced by, for example, wood fibre. Kaino hopes to receive these types of new threads to test on our machines and potentially even use them, and we are actively following the development of recycled fibres, among other things. In addition, the industry aims to rework good materials into recycled materials that could again be made into garments.

Therefore, I see great promise in the future. A great deal of work is currently going on to reduce consumption and make it more selective and aware – buying fewer but better items that have been manufactured in better conditions from better materials.

Katariina Juurikkala, Martha organization

I think that, as consumers, we have a huge responsibility in making choices and reviewing our purchase behaviour. With our own choices and changes towards a more ecological and responsible lifestyle, we can use small steps to build a more sustainable future.

Päivi Lintula and Hanna Vänni, TST-Texvex

We hope the fashion industry will realise that this type of excess production cannot continue with our limited natural resources. Consumers should also review their habits: is it really necessary to own 15 t-shirts, and must we always buy more and more new clothes?

Consumers could also consider the types of products they are buying and choose products based on ecological values as well. For example, is it worth it to buy a disposable acrylic sweater that looks terrible after one wash?

What we need is education, discussion and raising awareness. Many people are still not truly aware of the impacts of their choices. A number of people who have worked for us have reconsidered their consumer habits after seeing how much end-of-life textiles we receive all the time. Such an epiphany is an effective means of changing people’s actions.

Henna Knuutila, Turku University of Applied Sciences

I can see a sustainable future in services and hope that people would go from owning garments to renting them. I also hope that people will start to value their textiles.

I can see a return to sustainable, long-lived solutions. Smaller businesses will get a foothold on the market, consumers can receive service and enjoy the purchase experience in boutiques. The prices could go up to cover all the impacts of textile production. This would make the price of a garment more correct socially, ethically and ecologically.