Only 6.6% of European textile waste reused or recycled on the continent

Only 6.6% of European textile waste reused or recycled on the continent
Only 6.6% of European textile waste reused or recycled on the continent

Of the approximately 11 million tonnes of textile waste produced by European consumers in 2019, only 6.6% was reused or recycled within the EU, according to a report published on Tuesday by the NGO Zero Waste Europe (ZWE).

The vast majority of this textile waste was incinerated or thrown away within the European Union, i.e. 8.41 million tonnes (76.7% of the 11 million tonnes).
Textile waste exported outside European borders (mainly in Africa and Asia) represents 16.7% (1.83 million tonnes).

Finally, 1.7% of this waste was reused in Europe (0.19 million tonnes) and 4.9% recycled on the continent (0.54 million tonnes), according to Zero Waste Europe, which relies on figures from the European Commission.

In a projection, the NGO estimates that more than 15 million tonnes of textile waste will be produced by European consumers in 2035.

Furthermore, of the approximately 12 million tonnes of textiles placed on the European market in 2019, only 33% were produced on the continent, ZWE further notes.

The NGO also notes that “textile recycling in Europe remains a very small sector while second hand is more established”.
The policies of certain countries in terms of circular economy are “more advanced than others”, and France stands out, reports the NGO.

The rate of collection and recycling of textile waste is “significantly higher than the European average”, underlines the NGO. Even if she warns: the data are not completely comparable, in particular because the reference years are not the same, 2022 for France and 2019 for Europe.

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