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Nordic project to enhance circularity of textiles

Doubling the life of textiles will reduce the climate impact by 40-50%. Still most of the used textiles generated in the Nordic region is incinerated instead of being reused, remanufactured and recycled. To enhance circularity of textiles a two-year Nordic project has been initiated.
Kuva: Eeva Suorlahti
Photo: Eeva Suorlahti.

The consumption of clothes and home textiles in the Nordics is increasing. At the same time more used textiles are thrown away in the household waste. Only a small part of the used textiles is separately collected and circulated, varying between 22% in Sweden to 46% in Denmark. Besides, the high sorting costs in the Nordics results in that large volumes are exported to other countries for sorting.

Seeing that the textile industry is one of the most polluting and resource intensive industries in the world it is important to increase the life cycle of textiles and as such reducing the impact on the environment.

There are a number of initiatives going on to address this environmental challenge.  One of the most influential ones is the European Parliament decision obliging member states to ensure that used textiles are collected separately, starting from 2025 at the latest. This has risen a lot of questions concerning the future systems of collection and recycling of used textiles.

The recently started project, called SATIN (Towards a sustainable circular system of textiles in the Nordic region) constituting of 24 organisations/companies in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland from various phases of the circular system of textiles aims to develop and test solutions that can address some of the textile collection and sorting challenges.

More specifically the project will develop collection solutions that achieve increased collection rates of used textile and investigate the opportunities for using centralized resources in the Nordics to achieve economies of scale in sorting.  A systematic map of the market for recycled raw material and reused textiles will be created to identify the potential for new business opportunities.

– The project setting allows close collaboration in each country, creating deep understanding of the challenges, roles, and success factors of circular solutions for used textiles, says Linea Kjellsdotter Ivert, researcher at VTI, the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute, also project manager for SATIN.

Participants in SATIN are Aalborg University, Aalto University, Avfall Norge, Avfall Sverige, Better World Fashion, Björk & Frihet, Chalmers Industriteknik, Convert, DHL, Fastighets AB Balder, Göteborg Kretslopp och Vatten, Göteborgsregionen, Integrate, Kruse Vaskeri, Kungälv kommun, Mölndals stad, NTNU (Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet), Nudie Jeans, Röda korset, Trasborg, TRV Gruppen, UFF, VEASAR, VTI (Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute).

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