Testing the viability of washing and drying contaminated textile trials

The purpose of the report is to assess the economic and environmental viability of washing and drying contaminated textiles, in order to reduce the amount of valuable textile reaching landfill and increase revenues generated through reuse and recycling.

Following evidence from stakeholders that a volume of potentially valuable textiles (clothing and household linens) were going to landfill due to levels of contamination and dampness, the question of how to reduce this lost resource was posed.

The investigation washed and dried various levels of contamination and damp textiles; this was followed by an economic assessment of each process, which resulted in positive outcomes, subject to some key conditions. This trial evidence suggests that if enough textiles can be secured at low or no cost, then the installation of washing and drying facilities would be economically viable.  

Where positive economic results were achieved an environmental assessment was undertaken to support the business case proposed to invest or sub-contract washing and drying these textiles. The results were also positive.


These reports have been written to be read as a package and not in isolation. To get an overview of what the trials were trying to achieve, we recommend that you read the summary report. For those wishing to receive more detail, we suggest that the trial reports are also read.

If you are considering or currently collecting textiles, you may be interested in our new textiles collections guidance.