Fashion for Good: Sorting for circularity of ...
Fashion for Good

Sorting for circularity of textiles

(Source: Fashion for Good)
(Source: Fashion for Good)

A report detailing the findings of the 16-month analysis has been released by Fashion for Good in collaboration with lobal impact organization Circle Economy, Amsterdam/Netherlands. This is the conclusion of the Sorting for Circularity Europe project launched in early 2021 and initiated by global initiative Fashion for Good, Amsterdam. The project brought together key brands and industry leaders across Europe.
To make informed investment decisions, as well as assess the business case for monetization through recycling, a deeper understanding of the characteristics of today's European post-consumer textiles landscape is needed. The Sorting for Circularity Europe Project was initiated to address this knowledge gap, exploring post-consumer textiles in depth, providing meaningful information on which to base investment decisions, policy developments and next steps towards circularity. Furthermore, the project aims to increase harmonization between the sorting and recycling industry, stimulating a recycling market for unwanted textiles that can generate new revenue streams for sorters and unlock demand for recyclers and brands.
The analysis indicates that 74%, a total of 494,000 tons of low-value, post-consumer textiles is readily available for fiber-to-fiber recycling in 6 European countries. This represents the potential to generate an additional €74 million per year in value by re-introducing sorted and recycled textiles back into the value chain.
Conducting the analyses across Europe, in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the UK, the project provides 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 practices to adopt, as well as textile collection agencies and organizations to build the necessary infrastructure and better educate and engage consumers on proper sorting and disposal practices.
In addition to the report, 2 further industry resources, developed by Circle Economy, have been made available; Recycler’s Database, a database mapping textile recycler's capabilities, illuminating crucial gaps between the sorting and recycling industry, and an open source Sorters Handbook to guide the sorting industry - encouraging and supporting further analyses.
Building off the project, 2 open digital platforms, Reverse Resources and Refashion Recycle, to match textile waste from sorters with recyclers, have been identified as critical tools to further enable the connections needed to drive greater circularity in the years to come. Following an assessment of suitable digital platforms within and outside of the textile industry, Reverse Resources have 39 active recyclers and 32 active waste handlers/sorters on their platform, while Refashion Recycle have 103 recyclers and 66 sorters onboarded onto their platform. This represents a large portion of the European circularity industry.

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