Europe's capacity for textile recycling mapped
There is a huge potential to scale up the sorting and recycling of old textiles in Europe. This is shown by a survey of around 30 actors in the sorting and recycling of post-consumer textiles, which has been carried out within the research project Sustainable clothing futures. The actors are located all over Europe and have promising techniques to be able to take care of our textile waste.
Every year Europeans in average discard eleven kilograms of textiles per person. A large amount of these textiles could have been reused or material recycled.
– We consume way too many clothes and use them too few times before they are thrown away. Many garments that could have been reused or recycled end up in the residual waste, it is a huge waste of resources, says Maja Dahlbom, project manager at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.
Of all the clothes that are produced, only about one (1) percent is currently made from recycled textiles. Six million tons of new textiles are put on the European market every year, but only around 16,000-25,000 tons of what goes to recycling becomes new clothes.
According to the mapping, the capacity for recycling of post-consumer textiles in Europe is estimated to reach 1.3 million tons by 2025, for sorting of textiles the corresponding number is 560 000 tons.
– It is very positive, the results from the mapping show that there are many actors in Europe and a huge potential to scale up their capacities, says Maja Dahlbom.
However, there is a need for technical improvements when it comes to separating different fiber types, as many of the produced clothes today consist of two or more fibre types.
– To look ahead, there are an interest in sorting and recycling of textiles in Europe and the industry will probably expand in the coming years. But good collection and textile sorting are needed in order for the recycling companies to produce new clothes, says Maja Dahlbom.
Download the report: Sustainable clothing futures – Mapping of textile actors in sorting and recycling of textiles in Europe Opens in new window.
Illustration Pdf, 1.8 MB, opens in new window.showing actors working with sorting and recycling of textiles within Europe (countries with a darker colour has one or more actors).
For more information, please contact:
Maja Dahlbom, firstname.lastname@example.org, +46 (0)10-788 65 83