• WornUp founder Anne Thompson and EPA Organics Manager Amanda Kane.
    WornUp founder Anne Thompson and EPA Organics Manager Amanda Kane.

Sydney-based textile recycler Worn Up is on a mission to reduce the number of school uniforms going to landfill each year. 

The organisation is working to keep 100 tonnes of used uniforms and textiles out of landfill nationally by transforming the unwanted clothing into new products, using a global-first composite material called FABtec for furniture, school desks, stools and acoustic tiles.

Having recently received a $100,000 grant from NSW Environment Protection Authority's (EPA) Circulate program, Worn Up will be able to extend its reach to rural schools and big businesses. 

Businesses already on board include fashion retailer Glassons, alongside Toby’s Estate, Suntory Coffee, Lowes and Ikea. 

Worn Up founder Anne Thompson said the organisation is making good progress on its mission. 

"Between the schools and business Textile Rescue programs we’ve already stopped 50 tonnes of uniforms going to landfill," she said. 

"We now have seven Sydney metropolitan councils on board, one regional council and 66 schools taking part in the council program. 

"If the more than 3,000 schools in NSW joined the program, we could divert more than 310 tonnes out of landfill each year, just from school uniforms," she said. 

Worn Up's program is one of many recognised by the Circulate program, which aims to help the development of the circular economy in New South Wales. 

EPA Organics Manager Amanda Kane said programs like Worn Up are critical, with more than 300,000 tonnes of textiles discarded in NSW each year and almost 240,000 tonnes are being dumped in landfill annually.

"Worn Up are helping divert reusable textiles from landfill, while creating jobs in the circular economy, and reducing emissions. 

"Polyester and organic textiles are wasted in landfill and create greenhouse gas emissions.

"And on average, each Australian discards at least 23 kilograms of textiles a year.

"Research shows just 28% of textiles are being recycled and re-used which is not sustainable, and it’s definitely not in fashion," she said. 

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