In space settlements recycling will be an essential part of their waste management system. In case of durable consumer goods, such a washing machines and refrigerators, we advocate a system in which these goods are leased rather than purchased. And at the end of the lease term or end of life time, the goods are returned to the manufacturer for recycling.
Clothing is an important source of waste, both during production and after use. For instance a lot of water and pesticides are used during the cultivation of cotton. And after use clothing is hard to recycle, and reuse is limited due to wear.
Fortunately there seems to be a solution for this problem. Dutch designers have developed a polymer, called Returnity (from “return” and “eternity”), which offers the same feeling as ordinary textiles and which can recycled over and over again. This Returnity fabric is what we need in Space Settlements, since it would eliminate one of the most polluting industries as well a great source of waste.
Maybe it would be good idea, if people who bring back their old clothing to the shop will get a discount on their new purchases. In this way consumers have an incentive not to throw their old clothes in the general garbage can.