A total of 4,94,000 tons of low-value, post-consumer textiles is readily available for fiber-to-fiber recycling in six European countries.
So says a study ‘The Sorting for Circularity undertaken by Fashion for Good. The European countries are Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and United Kingdom. The study was undertaken to explore post-consumer textiles in depth, provide meaningful information on which to base investment decisions, policy developments and next steps towards circularity.
Fashion for Good aims at increasing harmonisation between the sorting and recycling industry, stimulating a recycling market for unwanted textiles that can generate new revenue streams for sorters and unlocking demand for recyclers and brands.Using innovative near infrared technology to determine garment composition, traditionally a task performed manually, the project analysed a total of 21 tons of post-consumer garments.
The findings provide the most comprehensive and representative snapshot of textile waste composition in Europe to date. The results point to promising opportunities for recapturing value while diverting textiles from downcycling and incineration. The results also inform brands of the best circular design practises to adopt, as well as textile collection agencies and organisations to build the necessary infrastructure and better educate and engage consumers on proper sorting and disposal practices. Currently only two per cent of post consumer textiles are diverted to fiber-to-fiber recycling.