Textiles Reports and Trials

4th May 2016

This set of reports and case studes details materials flows, branded workwear, feedstock and values, and washing and drying looks at the opportunities available for market development, recovery and re-use of textiles.

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Key findings
In 2010 an estimated £238 - £249m worth of re-usable or recyclable textiles were discarded through kerbside residual waste collections.
Recovering just 10% of this residual waste would generate a potential sales value of almost £25 million.



This set of reports analyses the various sources and collection methods for textiles within the UK.

It shows the volumes of textiles produced and consumed by householders and businesses, and the end pathways taken when these textiles are no longer required.

Using this evidence, the second stage identifies and assesses market opportunities to divert textiles from the waste stream. It measures the benefits of this diversion in terms of: material security, CO2 savings, employment creation, cost savings and economic growth.

To get an overview of what the trials set out to achieve, we recommend that you read the summary report. 

Download summary report >>

Read chapter 1: Textile flow and market development opportunities >>
Read chapter 2: Textiles washing and drying summary report >>
Read chapter 3: Corporate workwear arisings and opportunities report >>
Read chapter 4: Recovered textiles – quality and value >>



Chapter 1: Textile Flows and Market Development Opportunities

The Textile Flows and Market Development Opportunities report examines the textile groups in depth, highlighting new recycling technologies and potential market opportunities. New technologies include chemical recycling of cotton and synthetic clothing, carpets and footwear.

To find out more information from the report, you can navigate directly to the relevant selection using the contents list below.

Download textile flows and market development opportunities report >>

Chapter 2: Textiles washing and drying trials summary report

The purpose of these trials was 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.

To read the full results, you can download the report and trials below:

Download textiles washing and drying summary report >>

Textiles washing and drying trial 1 - 4 >>
Textiles washing and drying environmental assessment trials 1 - 4 >>


Chapter 3: Corporate workwear arisings and opportunities report

This report details the consumption and disposal of corporatewear, and determines opportunities within the market.

At current corporate workwear arisings are estimated at 16,000 tonnes per annum, which equates to approximately 39.2 million individual garments. Currently only 9% of this is recovered for re-use with an additional 1000 tonnes captured for shredding but this is not recycled.

To find out what opportunities this presents, read the following report:

Download corporate workwear arisings and opportunities report >>

Chapter 4: Recovered textiles – quality and value

WRAP commissioned Axion Consulting to investigate and assess the impact that differing sources of recovered textiles has on the quality and the subsequent value of those textiles within UK re-use and recycling markets. This was achieved through a series of trials.

The output from the research will assist WRAP and the textile recycling sector to identify which sources generate the highest value returns contributing to re-use and recycling market potential.

Download impact of textile feedstock source on value summary report >>

Download textile feedstock reports for different collection methods:

Comingled collections trial 1 report >>
Textile banks trial 2 report >>
Kerbside collections trial 3 report >>
Charity shop collections trial 4 report >>
Charity door to door trial 5 report >>
Branded workwear trial 6 report >>
School donations trial 7 report >>
Cash 4 clothes trial 8 report >>

Where next?

Want to find out more about re-use and recycling in sustainable textiles? Take a look at our knowledge-base for further reports, tools, guides and case studies:

Reports >>
Guides >>
Tools >>
Case studies >>