New booklet about options for better recycling of clothes

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New booklet about options for better recycling of clothes

Published on
April 21, 2020

The textile industry is not only one of the most polluting industries but also one of the most resource-wasting industries in the world. In the booklet ‘Textiles for circular fashion’, researchers Paulien Harmsen and Harriëtte Bos describe the feasibility of various routes for better recycling of clothes with the aim of reducing the consumption of raw materials.

The booklet is the first in a series on circular fashion. “The way in which people dress will need to change in the future, so that the amount of textile waste and the use of new raw materials for textile will be reduced”, Paulien Harmsen explains. “Recycling of clothes is a small piece of the puzzle to make the textile sector circular. The worldwide volume of fibres for textiles an non-wovens is more than 100 million tons per year. 97 percent of this is now made from new raw material, 2 percent is recycled raw material from other industries, and less than 1 percent is from recycled textiles. With this booklet, we want to show what the technical possibilities are and which activities are already taking place to recycle textiles.”

Recycling of clothes is a small piece of the puzzle to make the textile sector circular.
Paulien Harmsen, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research

A wide audience

Textiles for circular fashion is intended for anyone who is interested in the technology behind the production of clothes. The authors first explain how clothes are produced from different raw materials and what properties the different textile fibres have. Then they describe methods by means of which different types of fibre can be recycled. In the final chapter, they discuss the options for recycling large amounts of textile waste from the clothing industry and from consumers in more detail. “Not all textile waste can be recycled; it is especially difficult in the case of textiles that are made of a compositions of different fibres. Therefore, the focus should not only be on recycling, but also on other measures for changing the entire textile chain. For every new piece of textile, the manufacturer will need to consider: what am I going to make it from and what will then be the options when it is discarded.”

The focus should not only be on recycling, but also on other measures for changing the entire textile chain.
Paulien Harmsen, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research

Online and hardcopy

Textiles for circular fashion is part of the series Green raw materials, a series of handy booklets in which the different areas of the circular bioeconomy are highlighted. The booklet is available online. Hardcopies are available, please contact Paulien Harmsen. We will dispatch these as soon as the corona measures have been relaxed.