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The Nordic textile reuse and recycling commitment

  • Published on November 8, 2018
Of key interest to collectors of used textiles and policymakers looking for codes of conduct that ensure transparent and responsible textile collection and handling. A comprehensive 3rd party certification system for collectors of used textiles was developed and piloted under this initiative.
One potential obstacle to circularity in textiles is a lack of transparency on the fate of post-consumer textiles collected by organisations. This initiative aimed to tackle this by developing a voluntary certification system for textile collection organisations that can potentially give advantages in public tenders. The initiative included the following steps: - Mapping of current actors in the collection, sorting, reuse and recycling of used textiles - Literature review of global traceability initiatives and operational standards in the collection and management of used textiles - Development of proposals for a voluntary commitment including goals for collection, reude and recycling - Development of a 3rd part verified certification system for collectors of used textiles - Piloting of the certification system by three collectors in three Nordic countries and a third party verification company - Adjustments to the certification system following experiences in the pilots The initiative has produced a highly useful set of practical tools for policy makers, standardisation organisations and stakeholders in the textile value chain: A Commitment that can be signed by all stakeholders in the textile sector that includes 6 concrete goals. One goal is to double the share of textiles put on the market that are collected seperately and to ensure that 50% of these are reused and 90% reused or recycled. The Commitment has been signed by a wide range of brands and other stakeholders in Nordic countries. A comprehensive Certification and Verification system for 1) collectors of used textiles for reuse and 2) collectors of used textiles for reuse and recycling. This system includes a full set of criteria that cover a range of collection methods, and the subsequent sorting, recycling, reuse and sales of reused textiles and export whether this is carried out by the collector or downstream actors. It also includes a certification system, reporting formats, guidelines for 3rd party verifiers, rules on use of logos and everything else that is needed for a fully working 3rd party verification standard. The system will be launched in the Nordic region but there is also potential for certification of collectoes in other countries. Other regions may also borrow from the system and experiences to establish similar standards in their own regions.

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Supporting document(s)

nordic_commitment_-_second_background_report.pdf Download
nordic_commitment_-_final_description_and_documentation.pdf Download
nordic_commitment_-_policy_brief.pdf Download
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