Reusing textiles – environmental impact 08-02-2023
Reusing textiles – environmental impact
-Reusing textiles has 70x less environmental impact: European study
Reuse of textiles has 70 times lower impact on environment as compared to producing new clothing, a new life-cycle assessment (LCA) commissioned by the European textile reuse and recycling industry has confirmed. The study revealed that a substantial 3 kg of carbon dioxide (CO2) is saved for each high or medium-quality clothing that is reused.
Only a mere 0.01 per cent of the water used to produce new clothing is required for reuse, the study further stated.
These results come on the back of the European Union (EU) launching its strategy for sustainable textiles just a few months ago and requirements for member states to start collecting textiles separately by 2025, European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) said in a press release. Reusing textiles – environmental impact
While the study confirms waste hierarchy assumptions on the environmental benefits of reuse over recycling, in the case of low-quality clothing, typically entirely composed of polyester, recycling also has comparative environmental benefits when consumers are less likely to purchase second-hand clothing.
The study also emphasised recommendations to policymakers, calling for initiatives that accelerate investments in state-of-the-art textile recycling facilities globally. In particular, innovation in fibre-to-fibre recycling will be key to keep textile fibres in the loop as volumes of non-reusable clothing are set to dramatically increase. The study also notes the importance of eco-design criteria that enhance the lifespan of clothing before there is a need for recycling as well as rules that mandate detailed sorting of high or medium-quality and low-quality textiles. Reusing textiles – environmental impact
“Regrettably, around 62 per cent of used clothing and textiles end up in household waste meaning valuable textiles are likely to be incinerated or landfilled. The European textile reuse and recycling industry envisages a circular textile value chain where every piece of clothing is reused in an optimal way and/or recycled,” said Mariska Boer, president of EuRIC Textiles. “This study endorses the environmental benefits of a global market for textile reuse and recycling’s potential to tackle the rising amounts of low-quality and non-reusable clothing.”