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Why Upcycle4Better is different

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Welcome to the new blog for Upcycle4Better's news thread! We are so proud of working with amazing charities and businesses to provide a transparent service for their unwanted textiles.


With too many textile collectors, materials are simply sent to whomever will pay the most for them. We don't and from day one we have advocated transparent communications about what happens to textiles.


What we do at Upcycle4Better:

Collect unwanted textiles from various sources and sort them for their highest value.

These priorities in order are:

  1. Reuse and rewear

  2. Repair for reuse

  3. Repurposing

  4. Upcycling

  5. Recycling

  6. Waste to energy

  • Our factory in Malaysia is accredited with an ISO 14001 certificate, this means they have an internationally recognised environmental management system in place.

  • We have a Modern Slavery Policy across our business and hold our direct partners accountable to uphold the same standards.

  • We upcycle in our own factory and with partners to reduce the amount of recycling needed and displace demand for virgin content in new products

  • We work with recyclers and buy back recycled products to take back material we have provided, for a business that inches closer to circularity. By doing this we support the demand for recycled goods, and therefore the recycling economy.

  • We support local Australian charities with their ESG goals and environmental scores through a transparent service.


What we don't do:

  • sell our collected materials to whoever will pay the highest price

  • send our collections to landfill

  • incinerate collections that contain wearable and recyclable clothes

  • send materials to partners we have not audited in person

  • work without knowledge of whom are partners are and their ethics

  • employ informal workers - a common practice overseas where illegal workers are exploited

  • pretend that we can recycle in Australia everything we collect.



Why do we work with overseas?

How many units of fashion do we import per year in Australia?

  • 1.42 Billion

  • 10.9 Million

  • 71.4 Million


Over 90% of the fashion we wear comes from overseas - we don't make it here. We can't reuse or recycle everything we import in the country.

Australians are picky about reuse, and quality is not always up to our standards. Also many clothes aren't designed to last to be swapped or resold... they get damaged after just a few wears and washes.

We can't recycle in Australia all of our used textiles. Recycling is not free, and then the recyclate needs somewhere to go - we don't have the need for those new materials in Australia because our textile industry is small. Sorting locally can be done on a small scale, think your charity shop and its volunteers and pre-sorted business waste..On a massive scale, it's not cost-effective in Australia to sort the variety of textiles the public disposes of. Overseas, we can sort efficiently as they have the labour skills and experience we lack, and they also have a reuse market and recycling market for all the parts and pieces you may not think about such as zippers, buttons, leather etc. The chemical recycling industry here is nascent, and even they can only accept one type of item, with one fabric composition. Not a mix of wool, nylon, acrylic etc... and certainly no items with any trims!


Did you know that India's mechanical recycling industry is one of the world's oldest? Mechanical recycling involves shredding, tearing, and reprocessing textiles to create new fibres or fabrics. With India's numerous textile mills, it makes sense to recycle where the material will be needed. The country is also known for its incredible handicraft techniques turning old or discarded textiles into new products or garments without breaking them down completely.


Do we use any of the donated materials locally?

Yes we do! In some states we work with charities that can also access our collections to pick the most valuable items for their op shops to raise funds for their cause. Again, they wouldn't need all of the items we collect, and certainly wouldn't be able to sort through it! It also makes no sense to send collections from say Western Australia all the way to Brisbane, so we keep a local collection to a local use if needed. Did you know that sea freight has a far lower carbon emission score than road or air freight?


We hope that more people will start to question how their clothes and textiles are being moved around the country and especially beyond and seek out responsible charities and businesses who provide evidence of whom they give their unwanted textiles to.


Did you learn something new? If so, share this with a friend who could benefit from it too! Share on Facebook


Answer: we import an estimated 1.42 Billion units of fashion a year. Source: Australian Fashion Council

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