Between 18% and 26% of textile waste generated in Europe could be recycled into new garments. According to a study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, less than 1% of textile waste is currently used for this purpose. The report concluded that if the full potential of technical recycling were utilized and more textiles were collected, between 18% and 26% of textile waste could be reused to make new garments by 2030.
Scaled textile recycling would not only reduce CO2 emissions by four million tons but would also create a profitable industry with some 15,000 jobs in Europe and a potential market of between six and eight billion euros in sales, with possible annual returns of 20% to 25% for the recycling industry.
This data is presented in the report Scaling up textile recycling in Europe: Creating value from waste, prepared by McKinsey & Company. It analyzes and develops scenarios for the development of textile waste volumes and collection and recycling rates up to 2030.
A New Textile Waste Solution
Retail giants H&M, Ikea, Inditex, Kiabi, Mango and Tendam have joined forces to manage textile waste in Spain. Together they’ve created the Association for the Management of Textile Waste to manage textile and footwear waste generated in the Spanish market through the Collective System of Extended Producer Responsibility or the "Sistema Colectivo de Responsabilidad Ampliada del Productor" (SCRAP).
Specifically, with the constitution of this association, which was made official yesterday at the Museo del Traje, these companies want to give a collective boost to textile recycling in Spain, moving towards a circular model through the proper management of the sector's waste.
The law enforces the separate collection of textile waste by local entities by December 31, 2024. Within three years of the entry into force of the new law, the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge will develop extended producer responsibility regimes for textiles, such as the regulatory regulation to make the separate management of the textile waste stream from the rest of municipal waste mandatory.
The non-profit Association for the Management of Textile Waste has been formally constituted in the National Register of Associations. The retailers have agreed to create this association and are working on the SCRAP operational, financial, and data model for the management of textile and footwear waste in the Spanish market.
Acquiring Certification to Verify the Quality of Recycled Materials
Brands can also consider attaining certification to verify the quality of recycled materials, such as the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) by Textile Exchange. The standard's aim is to increase the use of recycled materials in garment production.
The rise of global sustainable development and the low-carbon economy has led to a growing interest on the part of brands, buyers, and retailers to make responsible use of renewable resources. Reusing and recycling materials helps to reduce dependence on non-renewable resources and minimize the environmental impact of emissions and waste disposal.