500% increase in textile recycling following Finnish pilot scheme


Textile deposit

The Finnish city of Lahti has announced its textiles recycling rate has increased by 500% following its pilot incentive scheme for textile waste.

The trial, running over the first weeks of June, is an experimental project set up by the City of Lahti in Southern Finland. The project aimed to see if small incentives, in this case provided by the city, could have a positive effect on the recycling rate of textile waste.

Lahti recycling scheme
Lahti is also launching a national design competition that aims to find “new and creative” uses for discarded textiles.

In the pilot, locals could exchange their textile waste for coffee vouchers and passes to their local pool.

Salpakierto, a municipal company which operates waste management in the Lahti region, currently has six collection points for textile waste. In 2023, the collection points averaged around 420kg of recycled textiles per week – around 70kg per collection point.

Now the City of Lahti, which has set an official goal of becoming a zero-waste city by 2050, says that during the textile deposit scheme pilot weekly results for a single collection point was 350 kg of textiles, five times the previous amount.

Earlier this year, a new law requiring cities and municipalities to make separate collection bins for textile waste available to all Finns came into effect. Separate collection of textile waste is set to be rolled out across the EU by 2025.

Veera Hämäläinen, Communications Director for the City of Lahti, commented: “The textile deposit (scheme) has been a runaway success. The results we’ve seen are a positive signal for systemic incentives for recycling.

“A nationwide deposit-based recycling system for textiles could give a significant boost to the recycling rate. In Finland, we’ve seen it with bottles and beverage cans, their recycling rate is well above 90% – could these kinds of incentives be applied across the board?”

Textile recycling

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