Garment scraps head for Western living rooms at Christmas

HATIBANDHA, December 19, 2010 (AFP) – Every year, Bangladesh’s garment sector produces billions of dollars worth of high-street clothes for major western brands — and generates mountains of fabric offcuts in the process. While an informal recycling sector has sprung up to deal with the scraps of leftover jeans and T-shirts churned out by the country’s 4,500 garment factories, it produces only low-value products for domestic consumption.

But one Bangladeshi entrepreneur has found a new, more lucrative way of dealing with the estimated 100,000 tonnes of scrap fabric the garment sector produces each year: making rag-rugs for export.

“The rags produced by the garment factories are seen as worthless waste but I saw that they could be a way to build a business — then Kik picked up my products and everything started to take off,” Tauhid Bin Salam told AFP.

Tauhid set up his company, Classical Handmade Products Bangladesh, in 2008 and has now built it into a successful business with an annual turnover of 80 million taka (1.2 million dollars) and a workforce of 530, mostly women.

Tauhid’s first buyer, German company Kik Textilien, is one of Europe’s largest textile discounters with a presence in six Euro