Useful for policymakers and textile industry stakeholders wishing to quantify the benefits of the reuse and recycling of post-consumer textiles compared to incineration.

LCA-based comparisons of different pathways for post-consumer textiles with a range of fibre types. The pathways include reuse, various recycling options and incineration.

Implemented in

  • Europe and Central Asia

Sectors of activity
Consumer Goods, Waste, incl. Chemicals, Scientific Research, Development and Innovation

Type of initiative
Policy Frameworks & Tools, Research, Analysis, Assessment

Type of lead actor
Government / public sector

Start date
09/01/2015

End date
10/02/2016

Shared by

David Watson

Senior Consultant

PlanMiljø

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Objectives

Reusing and recycling of used textiles can partially offset the high environmental impacts of textile production but with a wide range of options available government and business can find it difficult to find the greenest option for post-consumer textiles.

The objective of this project was to provide stakeholders with robust comparisons of the benefits of different management options for post-consumer textiles to guide them in making the right environmental choices.

Activities

As collected through the One Planet Reporting

No activities have yet been reported under this initiative

Impact and Results

The results clearly show that reuse is environmentally by far the best management option for post-consumer textiles regardless of where in the world the product is reused. It also shows that recycling is for the most part better than incineration, particularly fibre-to fibre recycling.

This result is of key importance to both governments and brands in choosing policy and initiatives. It makes it clear that all effort must be given to reusing or extending lifetimes of clothing and textiles as far as possible and recycle only when the product can no longer be reused.

The project also provided an Excel spreadsheet of results that allows governments and business to calculate the benefits of diverting a given quantity of textiles from incineration to reuse and recycling.

Next steps and how to get involved

Use the Excel spreadsheet to calculate the benefits of diverting your country's, regions or company's post-consumer textiles from incineration to reuse or recycling. Note though that the calculations are specific to Nordic countries energy system profiles. The benefits may differ in your country.

Do all you can to prioritise reuse, and recycle only when the product can no longer be reused somewhere in the world.