Product re-use means the textiles are re-used without altering it first. Like when you pass on clothing to family and friends.
This is by far the most environmentally friendly way of re-using your textiles. After all, when you buy a new cotton T-shirt, this new T-shirt has come a long way before ending up in your closet. Cotton needs to be grown which uses a lot of agricultural land, water, pesticides and insecticides. Subsequently the cotton runs through a comprehensive process of spinning, weaving, dying and confectioning before it becomes an actual T-shirt. In between these steps the material has to be transported several times and eventually it has to end up in a store. Obviously this doesn’t apply to a T-shirt you acquire from a friend. It usually doesn’t require more than a short drive and a wash.
Recycling, not only for the environment
Obviously, recycling is of great importance to the environment. But for mankind itself it is also important that we recycle our textile waste as good as possible. No less than 70% of the world’s population is dependent upon secondhand textiles since they are not in the position to buy new good quality textiles. Due to the worldwide market for secondhand textiles they are able to buy clothing and shoes of good quality at modest prices.
Separate collection of textiles and grading them at sorting companies is important to ensure every piece of textile that is re-usable without modifications, becomes available to this group of people. About 50% of the collected textiles are suitable for this type of re-use. The other 50% qualifies for recycling.