Clothes waste from Nike, Ralph Lauren and Reebok used to fuel toxic kiln fires, project claims

Unearthed claims the incineration of garment waste, which commonly contains toxic chemicals, endangers the health of vulnerable kiln workers

Samuel Webb
Tuesday 09 August 2022 14:40 BST
A Nike off-cut is seen in a kiln located in Kandal province
A Nike off-cut is seen in a kiln located in Kandal province (Thomas Cristofoletti Ruom for Unearthed)

Cambodian factories are exposing workers to toxic fumes by burning cloth scraps from fashion giants such as Nike, Ralph Lauren, Reebok, Diesel, Next, and Clarks, it has been alleged.

An investigation by Unearthed, a Greenpeace UK journalism project, claims factories in the country are using tags, labels, footwear, fabric, and garment scraps to fuel brick kilns.

Workers move dried slabs of clay by hand into the kilns to manufacture bricks, where they burn for a couple of days in temperatures reaching up to 650C.

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