Towards 2025: Separate collection and treatment of textiles in six EU countries

EU Member States must establish systems for the separate collection of textiles by 1st January 2025. The Danish Environmental Protection Agency wished to gain an overview of how and under which conditions used textiles are collected and treated in other EU countries before initiating implementation of the new requirement. This report analyses the current status in Denmark and in five neighbouring countries: France, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Germany. The study examines: definitions and practice of when used textiles are considered to be waste and the resulting consequences; the organisation and delegation of responsibility in used textile collection; data collection and reporting systems on used textile collection; technological opportunities for sorting and recycling of non-rewearable items and good initiatives from countries that can contribute to a more circular economy in textiles.

The results show differences between countries in the framework that guides the collection and treatment of used textiles and how the countries plan to implement the EU 2025 requirements. A clear challenge for all countries is the question of how to handle the increasing volumes of non-reusable textiles that are expected to be collected towards 2025, and how to deal with the negative impact that these textiles will have on the economy of organisations working in the used textile sector. The report presents partial solutions from countries such as France, where an extended producer responsibility system for textiles and footwear secures money for the development of recycling technologies, and Finland where an eco-system for non-reusable textiles is under development.

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