Textile recycling


The industry for the production of textile fibers is one of the most polluting industries in the world. It is also an important industry when you consider that we consume about 13 kg textiles per capita per year in the western countries. This number doesn’t include only clothes, but also for example bed linen and interior for houses and cars. Each year as much as 75 billion kg new textile fibers are produced worldwide.

It would be a shame not to use these fibers again so luckily mankind has been reusing textiles since forever. For example by passing on clothing to family and friends or by using worn-out material as wiping rags.

We distinguish two types of re-use, product re-use and material re-use.

Recycling of textiles and the future

The negative environmental impact of new textiles is despised by many. At the same time we support the enormous production by buying more and more fast fashion items. Add the growth of the world’s population and their average welfare level and it’s no surprise the worldwide need of clothing and other textiles keeps on growing.

Where big brands used to come up with a summer and winter collection, nowadays many of them introduce up to 12 or even more collections each year. On average, consumers buy more relatively cheap clothing of inferior quality. These items can be replaced quickly for new fashion without having to spend lots of money.

More and more organizations ask themselves how to reduce the environmental impact of textiles. The Dutch government tries to improve separate collection of textiles so they can be recycled instead of ending up getting burnt. Universities, research institutions and companies join forces to improve existing and develop new recycling methods. This should result in much more high quality recycling of textiles.

In the perfect world, all textiles can be re-used and recycled in the best possible way. Will you help?