In the late 1990s and early 2000s, labour cost advantages had triggered a ‘dramatic shift’ in used textiles sorting and grading from Europe and North America to Asia. However, wages had increased ‘drastically’ in many parts of Asia over recent years, ‘thereby putting a question mark over the future viability of this business’, stated the BIR textiles division’s guest speaker in Dubai. ‘Until about 20 years ago, Japan was the only Asian country involved in grading/sorting, but today this is done in large volumes in more than 15 countries,’ stated Nohar Nath, executive director of the Kishco Group in India. But having noted that China, South Korea, Taiwan, Pakistan and the UAE each boasted more than 50 grading/ sorting companies, he pointed out that labour costs had risen, typically, from US$ 2 per day to nearer US$ 10 during the last three or four years. Nath also identified high import duties, volatile freight costs and licence requirements among other barriers to the recycling of used clothing in Asia. In the case of India, he noted, no licences had been issued for 13 years because used clothing grading/sorting was perceived to be ‘a health hazard’.
Read the complete story here