Press release 2015-09-16

New certification scheme to double the collection of used textiles

Textile consumption is on the increase in the Nordic countries, however the majority of used textiles end up in the rubbish bin. A new, voluntary certification scheme that within ten years will lead to a doubling of the collection of used textiles is now being assessed. Tests are being carried out by a number of fundraising organizations in the Nordic region, including Myrorna in Sweden.

The consumption and production of new textiles has a significant environmental impact. Reusing and recycling textiles reduces the extraction of new raw materials, water, energy and chemicals, but this goal is difficult to achieve unless used textiles are collected. If collection rates are to be improved transparent processes that increase trustworthiness and favour serious players on the textile market must be implemented.

– Consumers must be guaranteed that the garments and textiles that are to be reused or recycled are processed sustainably, not least because some collected textiles are shipped to other countries to be sorted and recycled, says Anna Frane, project manager at IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute.

This voluntary certification scheme targets Nordic actors active in the textile collection and sorting industry. The long-term goal is to double the amount collected within a decade, and to achieve a 90 per cent reuse / recycle rate, of which least 50 per cent should be reuse.

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute leads the project, which was initiated by the Nordic waste group and commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The project also comprises Copenhagen Resource Institute, CRI (Denmark), Ostfoldforskning (Norway) and Environice (Iceland). The certification scheme has established criteria for each link in the recovery and recycling chain that certified organizations will pledge to meet.

The certification scheme is now in a test phase in which the criteria are being tested by a number of fundraising organizations in the Nordic countries; Myrorna, Fretex, UFF Human Denmark and H&M Norway. These tests will principally be carried out in the Øresund Region – Malmö and Copenhagen – and in the Norwegian Halden municipality, which will act as pilots.

The scheme is part of the Nordic Textile reuse and recycling commitment project, which falls under the Nordic Council of Ministers' Green Growth Initiative.

Follow the project at www.textilecommitment.org

For more information, please contact:
Anna Fråne, anna.frane@ivl.se