Week 7: The Smith Family Site Visit

Posted: September 17, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

I never really experienced the problem of textile waste in Australia first hand until this visit to the Smith Family Facility Clothing Recycling Centre and Non-Woven Plant. It was very eye-opening to hear about the problems the organisation faces simply from common misconceptions such as clothing banks (not bins) being treated as dumping grounds or ‘all the same’ to the myth that collections are for free. It was surprising to hear the Smith’s Family’s dedication in trying to divert textile waste away from landfill, even going as far as running a loss but still producing a material called wiper.

Certainly it got me thinking to how I treat my clothes. I have to admit I am a bit hoarder, and like what CEO of the organisation Cathy Bray mentions, I am guilty of being one of those male consumers who keep wearing the same clothes until they start to have holes throughout. I suppose I have a more of a personal connection to these clothes than what I first thought- I know that at least I am not one of those people who operate under consumerism and always hunt for the latest designer fashions. Actually visiting the site had me thinking, there are more people out there who will need clothes- I was surprised that there is even a market in Africa for single shoes. Sometimes one just has to step outside the daily routine and think more of the less fortunate, at least by donating, you are helping others while reducing the waste problem.

We have to stop being ignorant and learn to change our habits. Society needs to change its emphasis on materialism and the self and aim to help the less fortunate. One thing is for sure, after this visit, my views on textile waste has changed, seeing the sheer volume of donations and material in the actual factory. I’ll have to dig through my closet one day and spare a thought for the Smith’s Family the next time I see an unusable piece of clothing.

 

Reference:

The Smith Family 2010, The Smith Family, The Smith Family, viewed 17/09/10  <http://www.thesmithfamily.com.au/site/page.cfm&gt;

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