The textile recycling sector is in turmoil with sorters across the UK and Europe facing full warehouses and halted collections due to an influx of low-quality clothing that requires costly disposal, according to waste carrier, broker and dealer Business Waste.

The group says over half of all clothing thrown away ends up in landfill – that is 53 tonnes of textile waste, which takes up 5% of all landfill space.

The textile recycling sector is facing what the Textile Recycling Association (TRA) describes as a ‘perfect storm’: economic crises, global market challenges, and the huge influx of fast fashion that’s flooded the market with low-quality, hard-to-recycle clothing causing big problems with textile waste.

Business Waste recycling expert Graham Matthews says by accepting returns of unwanted garments, retailers can ensure that clothing is properly sorted, recycled, recovered, or repurposed. This will avoid the high volumes of textiles ending up in landfills and will ease the fees for the collectors, particularly when they are faced with garments containing an extremely high synthetic blend that cannot be recycled and needs to be incinerated and shredded instead.

Alison Carey from textile recycling business Chris Carey’s Collections also notes that the current model of textile recycling is no longer viable, with an increase in volumes of non-reusable material coming at a high cost for collectors and sorters. She calls for urgent reform to support this essential global industry.

The take-back schemes can also be part of larger corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies that enhance the company’s impact on local communities. For example, retailers can partner with local charities to donate refurbished clothing, supporting local needs and improving the quality of life for community members. The group says as well as helping those in need, it strengthens the community’s perception of the retailer as a valuable and caring partner.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

Last month The European Technology Platform for the Future of Textiles and Clothing (Textile ETP) and chemistry innovation platform Axel’One launched a 42-month project to advance circular economy practices in the textile industry.