Textile recycling industry is expected to provide social, economic and environmental benefits to around €4.5 billion by 2030. It would also create 15,000 new jobs by the period besides increasing the need for nearshoring and reshoring of textile production, as per the Techno Eonomic Study by Euratex’s ReHubs Initiative.
No large-scale plan to tackle textile waste
Completed by ReHubs in June 2022, the ‘Techno Economic Master Study’ provides valuable information on the feedstock, new technologies, organizational and financial needs to recycle 2.5 million tons of textile waste by 2030, effective launching of the the ReHubs initiative. The study states, Europe generates around 7-7.5 million tons textile waste annually, of which only 30-35 per cent is recycled. Around 85 per cent of this textile waste comes from private households and approximately 99 per cent is virgin fibers.
The European Waste law mandates all member states to separately collect the textile waste in the next two and half years. While, few countries have already launched schemes for this purpose, a large scale plan to process this waste does not exist. To achieve a fiber-to-fiber recycling of around 18 to 26 per cent by 2030, investments worth $6 billion are needed. This would help the industry scale up fiber sorting and processing efficiently. It would also enable it to achieve economic, social, and environmental benefits worth €3.5-4.5 billion by 2030.
Expanding the industry size
Launched by Euratex in collaboration with members in 2020, the ReHubs initiative would help expand the size of textile recycling industry to 6-8 billion and, create around 15,000 direct new jobs by 2030. It aims to focus on recycling fiber-to-fiber 2.5 million of textile waste by 2030. For this, it will form a leading collaboration hub with large players and SMEs from across an extended textile recycling value chain. The project will be executed in four stages.
In the first stage, textile waste will be transformed into feedstock. It will address the limitations in current sorting technologies. The project will led by Texaid AG and build a 50,000 tons facility by the end 2024.
Second stage will focus on increasing adoption of mechanically recycled fibers in the value chain. The capacity of these fibers will be expanded in the third stage by addressing technical challenges in recycling thermo-mechanical textiles. The last stage will involve creating a capsule collection with post-consumer recycled project.
Achieving Green Deal goals
Bringing together key European and world players, the ReHubs initiative aims to transform textile waste into a resource. It also aims to boost the adoption of textile circular business model at large scale. The initiative will also focus on achieving EU ambitions of a Green Deal that mandates collection of entire textile waste by 2024.
The main focus of the collaboration will be on converting societal textile waste issue into a business opportunity. It will take into consideration all perspectives on chemicals, fibers making, textiles making, garments production, retail and distribution, textiles waste collection, sorting and recycling.
To mobilize resources for the initiative, Euratex has set three stakeholder groups. These include: a Business Council of pioneering companies that will conduct the TES study; Stakeholder Forum of business, research and academia players, who will share high-level information and support future collaboration; a Task Force comprising 14 national associations to review the progress of the ReHubs initiative and align this with policy and industry developments at the national level.