Textile Recycling in Italy is rising: meet the ASTRI association

It’s not just business talking, but also a sense of responsibility towards the territory we live in: this binomial is essential for the Italian recycling fashion company Comistra, whose owner Fabrizio Tesi is also president of the ASTRI association.

Meet the ASTRI association

“Now that many international companies care about eco-sustainability, the Prato district wants to see its production process recognized as an example of low environmental impact.” (ASTRI)

This is one of the core missions of ASTRI (Associazione del Tessile Riciclato Italiano, Italian Recycled Textile Association), a solid and prolific entity from the well-known Prato textile district, next to Florence.

ASTRI includes several companies working within this industrial and visionary hub, and all of them are personally committed to the environmental sustainability of textile production processes.

A long history of recycling (or rather, fabric regeneration) permeates Prato and makes this city an avant-garde in the field.

In fact, since the beginning of the last century, in the heart of this Italian textile district, a new way of conceiving old rags has been rediscovered: no longer textile waste to be thrown away, but rather a new resource from which to extract a good quality fiber, reusable and eligible for the market again.

Experience in the field

“ASTRI is committed to providing its know-how to legislators who deal with environmental matters, knowing that together we can answer what is a necessity for the future.” (ASTRI)

In recent years a “green” conscience has arisen in many people, and more and more politicians are concretely caring about waste recovery, to make a new raw material out of any kind of leftover.

However, to achieve a sustainable improvement of the entire Italian textile production ecosystem, it is necessary first of all to know the subject.

The associations part of ASTRI, including Comistra, boast know-how stratified over the years and proven by their corporate strength and the quality of their final products.

Behind the ASTRI association, there’s the belief that only those who know and master these production processes can add value and points of view to the community.

The battles of ASTRI association

The benefits that Made in Italy has brought to Italian fashion in the world are well known. The brand appropriation has the indirect consequence of the valorization, the fight against counterfeiting, and the new value conveyed to the final consumer, who does not see just “a product”, but a set of known and certified values, instead.

The main mission of ASTRI is therefore framed like this: it is important to get an official brand for regenerated textile, but above all, it is important to give this brand-specific rules.

This battle can be declined into two main strands.

The first one is the political one: confronting institutions other trade associations, locally and nationally, ASTRI is committed to bringing its message and its concrete proposals to find synergies at different levels of politics.

Secondly, ASTRI carries out workshops and events for all who can be interested in its core topics, including schools and youth associations.

In ASTRI’s mind, there is also a revision of the Italian law on waste from the perspective of the End Of Waste idea. In a few words, the current Italian legislation is now obsolete and needs an update that deletes the very concept of “waste”, to integrate the material always considered waste in an economic cycle, instead of in a straight linear process ending with the “waste”.

Astri asks for more clarity, given the need to stick to an ecological transition, and then asks for less paperwork for the companies leading the recycling field.

The key role of the Prato textile district

There is a revolutionary aspect of the Italian recycled textile sector: the Prato district has already been putting into practice for years a set of best practices to limit the incineration of textile waste, which was rather put back into the supply chain.

There are production models already, governance patterns, machinery, technologies, and specialized operators in the Prato district. They have been working for a hundred years to ensure the almost complete recovery of used textiles, in a perfect perspective of a circular economy.

Promoting the textile district of the Prato model does not mean creating an ecological production model from scratch: rather, it means enhancing a set of businesses that have already proven to work very well.

This is why ASTRI and Comistra keep on their sensitization and political confrontation, side by side.

We must look at the past if we wish to project ourselves into a more respectful and sustainable future.