The West Australian: Loop Upcycling targets Australia’s textile waste through circular economy

In a world of fast fashion, Australia’s first upcycling company say they would “love to have zero waste” as they continue to build a circular economy for textiles in the country.

Perth-based entrepreneur Dwayne Rowland founded Loop Upcycling in 2017 with a goal to minimise corporate textile waste while providing employment opportunities for people living with disadvantages.

The company works with businesses to design useful items from their otherwise discarded textiles and upcycles it into duffle bags, hats, tote bags and other new products.

Mr Rowland said Loop’s ambition was to stop 800,000 tonnes of textile waste in Australia going to landfill each year.

“We’re doing a great project with Clough Engineering. We’re dealing with thousands of uniforms and we’ve custom-designed a range of products that fits back into their supply chain,” he said.

Loop Upcycling’s Dwayne Rowland. Kelsey Reid Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Mr Rowland said the company aimed to minimise environmental impact through circular economy practices.

“The circular economy is around not just reducing what’s going to landfill but we’re stopping companies from purchasing more of these fast fashions, things that will end up going to landfill,” he said.

“It also creates corporate responsibility. They have to be part of the solution by sitting with us, we’re designing products and then they’re buying it back.”

The idea for Loop came to fruition after a conversation with Virgin Australia’s head of community about the airline’s old staff uniforms.

“He said to me ‘we have an issue and we can’t solve it’. I was then motivated, who doesn’t want to come up with a solution for Virgin?” Mr Rowland said.

“The scale of uniforms that gets thrown away each year or destroyed was mind blowing.

“I thought, why not try and deal with two issues. One is the environmental issue of the uniforms and the other is the social issue around getting vulnerable people into work.”

Loop currently services 12 companies, including Metronet and Water Corporation.