UK Textile Recycling Research
Research estimates that 1.165 million tonnes of textiles annually enter the waste stream in Britain and Northern Ireland.
A study by consultants Oakdene Hollins claims that textiles are the fastest growing household waste stream in the UK, with sales of new clothes increasing by 60% in the last decade. The amount of textiles consumed in the UK had "increased significantly" to 1.9 million tonnes a year, but only 17% of clothing is being collected by the secondary textile industry. While the majority of local authorities are involved in some form of textile collection scheme, the report said less than 15% of councils operate or support kerbside collections of textiles.
| Textiles in UK (2004/05)
|| '000 tonnes
|| % of UK textiles
| Entering waste stream
| Unaccounted for
| Collected for recycling/resale:
| Exported for resale/re-use
| Recycled in UK
| Exported for recycling
| Collected but unsuitable for recycling/reuse
| Net diversion from landfill
|Source: Oakdene Hollins report
Most unwanted textiles were being stockpiled or sent to landfill, according to the report, which suggested such an option was as bad in carbon terms as sending food waste to landfill.
The report authors suggested that more markets needed to be developed for recycled textiles to redress the balance, especially if the quality of new clothes decrease and new clothes become cheaper. They also said that retailers should consider voluntary producer responsibility measures.
(Source: August 2007 WasteWatch)
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