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Apparel waste: annual export earnings jump to $5 million

Apparel waste or ‘Jhuta’ business is fetching a hopeful sum of US$ 5 million annually. If these wastes are recycled for making new yarns and used in re-manufacturing garments, it will be a business of more than $4 billion, the sector people expressed.

apparel cutting waste
Figure 1: annually the apparel waste reprocessing products sector is exporting $5 million.

The idea is to turn the scraps into materials importantly demanded in the fashion world. And simultaneously dealing with two purposes – business growth and the hazardous issue of waste management.

BGMEA ex-Vice-President Mahmud Hasan Khan said, “There are two categories of ‘Jhuta’, one is from woven fabric another is from knit fabric. The price of ‘Woven Jhuta’ is low but the price of ‘Knit Jhuta’ is comparatively high. Because, after reprocessing of ‘Knit Jhuta’ it is easy to bring to cotton or fiber stages.”

“They are sold as an alternative to cotton in the local market. The advantage is that cotton prices are high but these are low. Those who are low-income people get to benefit from this,” Mahmud Hasan further added.

apparel waste key points

The key source of raw material in the entire business comes from leftover fabrics and other accessories of export-oriented garment factories in Dhaka and Gazipur.

“The regenerated yarn can seize the emerging market in developed parts of the world, with people becoming more sensitive to environmental impacts caused by industrial pollution,” said Fazlul Hoque, Managing Director of Plummy Fashions Ltd.

Bangladesh RMG industry is one of the leaders in the sustainable waste management system. One good example is Simco Spinning and Textiles Ltd founded in 2010. It has the capacity to produce 15 tonnes of yarn a day from ‘cotton clips’ that are cut out during the garment stitching process.

Cyclo recycled material
Figure 2: Cyclo, a concern of Simco Group, is a leader in the sustainable waste management system.

‘Jhuta’ traders say that around 50 lakh people have their livelihood with this business. There are more women workers than men in the shops. And the workers of this sector earn more than of RMG workers. Each worker earns Tk 500 to Tk 600 a day, said Abdullah, a cutting master of a factory.

In Pabna district, hundreds of small entrepreneurs in a number of villages have created jobs for 25,000 to 30,000 people and annually produce 18 crore to 20 crore pieces of garments, mostly T-shirts, worth around Tk 1,200 crore to Tk 1,500 crore.

“Initially, hosiery manufacturers used to sell their products in the local market. Now the T-shirts are exported to India, Malaysia, and Bhutan,” said Barik Hossain Jony, President of Pabna Hosiery Manufacturers Group.

The factories have to go face some challenges also. One of those is the increasing prices of Jhuta resulting from a monopoly on the business by a syndicate.

A Jhuta worker
Figure 3: A Jhuta worker Hafsu is sorting good quality piece of cloth to make collar for a shirt.

Abdus Salam, a small trader in Komorpur village, says small hosiery traders do not get soft loans or cash credit loans. “We borrow money from other sources at high-interest rates.”

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