Designing Out Waste

The scale of textile waste in eThekwini is underestimated and undermines sustainable business and city management. Wastage results from the production process (fabric offcuts) and the international dumping of clothing on the shores of Durban (a consequence of over-consumption and fast-fashion trends). These clothes are picked up by resellers for the second-hand, thrift markets and charity shops.


Designing Out Waste is a project that brings together stakeholders, including academics and young creatives, to raise awareness of the social and environmental impacts of textile waste in eThekwini and to explore ways of redesigning and recreating textile fabric. The project raises awareness of the waste crisis and promotes creative collaboration as a means of addressing this crisis. Textile waste is collected, sorted, redesigned and repurposed into reusable items, giving the materials longer or new life.


The project demonstrates the value of the creative arts in managing waste and the importance of collaborations.


What has been achieved

  • Documentation of textile waste in the inner city.
  • The collection of textile waste, which is then sorted and repurposed into visual art.
  • A collaborative exhibition with Open Oceans to showcase the artworks and prototype, and to discuss practical solutions for managing textile waste.
  • Raising awareness of the waste crisis in eThekwini, through engaging the municipality, the provincial (KwaZulu-Natal) textile cluster and the creative arts community.
  • Collaboration of multidisciplinary artists and creatives to create art and generate income from waste.


Alignment with IUDF

  • Inclusion and access: bringing together actors within waste management into a more coherent system.
  • Growth: opportunities for creatives and students to produce waste art and participate in waste management.
  • Governance: municipality and empowered, active communities working together and informed about environment matters and associated opportunities.



Government: eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Clothing and Textile Cluster

Academia: Durban University of Technology (DUT)

Business: Fine artists, fashion designers

For more info click here