In an ideal world, nothing should be wasted. Unfortunately, millions of tons of textiles are wasted each year before the clothes even reach the consumers, and a rising global demand for textiles and clothing is increasing the quantities of pre-consumer textile waste.
To help companies along the fashion supply chain adopt practices that can lead to higher recycling of pre-consumer textile waste, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), together with Blumine and Reverse Resources, launch a guide for companies in the Tunisian textile and clothing industry. The guide has been developed under the EU-funded SwitchMed programme and gives an introduction on the procedures, regulations, and sorting categories required to recycle pre-consumer textile waste.
A study by Reverse Resources indicates that more than 25 percent is left as waste in the textile and clothing industries. The guide seeks to encourage the development of a value chain for the recycling and recovery of textile waste in Tunisia and also presents a comprehensive overview of waste flows from pre-consumer textile waste that are annually generated in Tunisia.
According to Marco Ricchetti, CEO of Blumine and one of the authors of the guide, “Reusing pre-consumer textile waste is good for both the environment and the business. It can help the industry conserve resources and meet shortages of natural resources, save waste from landfills and incineration, and improve the environmental footprint of the whole supply chain. On the other hand, it is aligned with the spirit of times and fits the market and consumers’ requests.”
The guide deals exclusively with the management and recovery of pre-consumer industrial textile waste. Post-consumer waste such as urban textile waste (used clothing and home textiles, mattresses), end-of-life work clothes or uniforms, hospital textile waste and other community waste are not considered.
The reuse and recovery of textile waste for textile products only have a fraction of the environmental footprint caused by manufacturing the same amount of textiles from raw materials. Under the SwitchMed programme, UNIDO is working with international fashion brands, suppliers, and stakeholders from the textile and clothing supply chain in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. In 2022, industry pilots will demonstrate how locally recycled pre-consumer textile waste can be brought back into “the loop.”
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