Clothes sales figures have grown in all Baltic countries in recent years. Estonians buy a lot more clothes than their Baltic neighbors and have a better system in place for recycling.
Consumption of new and secondhand clothes is growing. Without new deliveries, the average Humana secondhand clothes store would be empty in a week. Faster during a sale.
Estonians buy three or four pieces of clothing a month on average, which is roughly double the rate in other Baltic countries.
"Consumption of new clothes was far ahead of Latvia and Lithuania. We go through roughly the same amount of clothes as our wealthier Nordic neighbors. Around 16,000 tons of new clothes come up for sale. In other words, we buy around 12.4 kilograms of clothes, home textile per person annually," said Harri Moora, program manager for the Stockholm Environment Institute in Tallinn (SEI).
Estonia has a better system for collecting used clothes and textile than its Baltic neighbors as 30 percent of secondhand clothes are collected. Half of it will be recycled, while the other half is sold used.
"In addition to those 12.4 kilograms, Estonians have also become more frequent patrons of secondhand clothes stores. Around 2.4 kilograms or 15 percent of clothes, home textile consumption comes from such stores," Moora said.
Mari-Helene Kaber, head of communication for Humana, said that visitor figures have been growing steadily and very few items of clothing end up not being sold.
"Most things we put on display in our stores end up sold, and we are talking about thousands upon thousands of pieces of clothing. What we are left with is very modest compare to what we sell," Kaber said.
To reduce quantities of clothing that ends up as waste, students of the Estonian Academy of Arts (EKA) use recycled materials in half of their collections.
"We have also been able to reuse red carpets. We know that they are rolled out only so people can tiptoe down them once and are often scrapped after that as they are not meant to be cleaned. However, their other side remains clean and we have used red carpets for fantastic projects that have been noticed on the world stage," said Piret Puppart, dean of fashion at EKA.
Clothes recycling is very difficult due to lack of technologies that would allow recycling of clothes made up of many different materials.
Editor: Marcus Turovski