NMR textile project 1. Reuse and recycling commitment
The markets for collection, sorting, reuse and recycling of textiles have no specific regulations like most other waste fractions. There is no political targets or framework for reuse/recycling of textiles, but the EU Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC) is pointing out the general waste hierarchy, also covering textile waste.
The entities in the market for textile waste include serious charity organizations, some waste/recycling companies, some municipalities and also more unserious market players. These unserious market players can operate as collectors without any registered company covered as humanitarian organizations, have unregistered workers and export textiles without necessary permissions and without paying taxes. In general, there is limited control with the value chain for trade of textile waste, including textiles transported to sorting plants and textiles exported around the world.
The municipalities have in general limited attention for the situation. Even though some municipalities have an agreement with the collectors, the follow-up activities are limited. Textile producers and suppliers of new textiles are so far to a limited extent active in this part of the value chain. The result is that the market players don’t need to report about results or to be controlled.
There is a need for a common business standard for stakeholders within the textile market that can be a quality mark for companies fulfilling defined quality requirements, designed to be especially relevant for textile collection and reuse/recycling companies. These requirements can cover standard quality systems requirements, requirements for sustainable development, traceability of textiles, transparency for reports and 3rd part control systems. This kind of documentation is expected to be more and more important for all stakeholders dealing with used textiles, including municipalities and textile businesses with activity in the collection and reuse/recycling of textiles market.
The aim of the project is to develop a common quality requirement system for textile collection, reuse and recycling companies based on a voluntary commitment system organized by a Nordic body or by national bodies. The commitment can be a quality tool for stakeholders to make improvements in their activities and the total value chain, and reduce problems with unserious market players. The commitment can also make it easier for municipalities and textile suppliers to cooperate with serious partners and give more adequate information to the public about which organizations you should donate clothes and other textiles to. The standard should be a tool for increased transparency and traceability so that more information from the value chain for textiles can be available to the public. The commitment shall also secure that reuse will be given a high priority according to the waste hierarchy.