Blue plastic fibres closing the loop on materials

Closing the loop on materials in fashion and textiles

Among the three priority action areas in the Textiles 2030 Circularity Roadmap is closing the loop on materials. This means recycling more of our clothing and textiles back into new textile products when they reach the end of their useful lives. Recycling textiles in this way ensures that they are kept in use at their highest value rather than ultimately ending up in landfill or being incinerated.

A case for change.

Textile consumption is on the rise. According to the Ellen McArthur Foundation, should growth continue as expected, total clothing sales will triple to 160 million tonnes by 2050. Yet less than 1% of textiles placed on the market are recycled back into new textile products.   

In order to meet future demand for clothing and textiles, and minimise the environmental impacts associated with producing these items, there will be a need to scale up the use of recycled fibres for new products. Our scenario modelling suggests that by doing this, the industry could achieve a carbon reduction of 12% and a water footprint reduction of 18% - helping to alleviate pressure on the planet’s depleting resources and divert textiles from being sent to landfill, incineration, or exported to lower cost labour regions.  

For brands and retailers to scale up the use of recycled fibres, the industry needs a reliable source of consistent feedstock across a wide range of fibres. It is critically important to support textile collectors and sorters in the step change needed to increase efficiencies in the collecting, sorting and grading of clothing. 

Businesses also have the opportunity to help drive demand for recycled fibres, in turn encouraging investment into the reuse and recycling sector to build and scale up the infrastructure and innovation needed to support automated sorting and fibre-to-fibre recycling, creating a new opportunity for the UK economy.   

Projects we are working on with partners.

Find out how we are working with partners to create a future where all textiles can be recycled back into new textiles when they reach the end of their life. 

Automatic-sorting for Circular Textiles Demonstrator (ACT UK)

Automatic-sorting for Circular Textiles Demonstrator (ACT UK)

WRAP is working as part of a consortium to develop and pilot the world’s first fully integrated, automated sorting and pre-processing plant for waste textiles in the UK.

Learn more

Guidance and resources for businesses.

Access our free resources for an insight into waste flows, hotspots and the viability of fibre-to-fibre recycling in the UK.

  • Textiles Market Situation report 2019

    Textiles Market Situation Report 2019

    Find out about recent developments in the market for UK used textiles as well as key factors shaping the outlook of the sector.

  • Fibre to Fibre Recycling: An economic & financial sustainability assessment

    Fibre-to-fibre recycling assessment

    An economic and financial suitability assessment of fibre-to-fibre recycling in the UK.

  • De-labelling branded corporate-wear for re-use

    De-labelling branded corporate-wear for re-use

    Research into de-labelling or de-branding technologies that might be used for end of life corporate wear.

  • Retailer clothing take-back guide

    Retailer clothing take-back guide

    Use this guidance to set-up or improve a clothing take-back scheme.

The brands and organisations closing the loop on materials.

Explore case studies from leading businesses and organisations who are helping to put the infrastructure in place to scale fibre-to-fibre recycling and prevent textiles from becoming waste.

SATCoL sorts textiles for recycling 

The Salvation Army Trading Company (SATCoL) is capturing unwearable clothing and textiles and sorting these by fibre type, fibre blend and colour using its fibre-sort machinery. Once sorted, these items will become valuable raw material for textile recyclers. SATCoL obtained funding for the fibre-sort machinery through DEFRA’s Resource Action Fund (RAF), which was administered by WRAP

 

Need help turning ambition into action?

Become a member of Textiles 2030 and get peer-to-peer and expert support as you set up partnerships to supply and use recycled fibres for new products.

Become a member