In 2020 the Clean Technology Centre, along with partners Community Resources Network Ireland (CRNI) and The Rediscovery Centre were contracted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP) to:
- provide information for national policy to address an identified knowledge gap in relation to post-consumer textiles in Ireland;
- identify potential measures that could strengthen a framework to support Ireland’s commitment to separately collect textiles by 2025.
By 1 January 2025, under the 2018 Waste Framework Directive, EU Member States will be obliged to collect textiles separately. However, the Directive does not explicitly define textiles. In 2019 textiles were identified as a ‘priority product category for the circular economy’ by the European Commission in the most recent EU Circular Economy Action plan.
Subsequently, the European Commission is preparing an EU strategy for sustainable textiles in 2021 which aims to establish a comprehensive framework to create conditions and incentives to boost the competitiveness, sustainability and resilience of the EU textile sector. Consultation on this initiative with citizens and stakeholders is taking place in Q1 2021. The textiles chain is one of the priority value chains under Ireland’s new national policy, A Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy.
This project researched the consumption pattern of textiles in Ireland in terms of both original consumption as well as post-consumer fate, addressing the following areas:
- Current consumption of textiles
- Current nature and extent of post-consumer textiles
- Existing systems for the collection and management of post-consumer textiles
- Best practices in terms of collection, segregation and recycling
- Improvements of systems to support separate collection of post-consumer textiles