Kerbside textile collections produce lowest quality of reusable items

Textile collections

A textile composition analysis by WRAP Cymru has found that kerbside textile collections produce the lowest quality of reusable items and have higher levels of contamination compared to textiles collected from household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) and bring-back sites.

The analysis found that reuse-grade clothing and shoes were the most commonly found materials across kerbside, HWRCs and bring-back sites.

The bring bank samples had the highest proportion of reuse-grade clothing and shoes at 75.3% and kerbside had the lowest at 54.6%.

Within the reuse grade, the premier grade and luxury grade clothing accounted for the highest proportion in the HWRC waste stream, at 19.8% and 1.8% respectively. The lowest proportion was found in the bring bank samples with premier grade clothing at 8.1% and luxury grade clothing at 0.9%.

The proportion of recycling grade clothing was marginally higher in the kerbside samples at 9.6% compared to in the HWRC and bring bank samples at 8.9% and 8.4% respectively.

Resource Futures conducted the composition analysis of used textiles for WRAP Cymru between November 2020 and May 2021. The analysis included used textiles from five Welsh local authorities, collected through household waste recycling centre banks and kerbside collection services.

The bring bank samples had the highest proportion of reuse-grade clothing and shoes at 75.3%.

Additionally, two samples of used textiles collected through bring banks were included, as WRAP Cymru says the opportunity arose to incorporate this material into the analysis.

WRAP Cymru explains that the composition analysis aimed to understand more about the quality of material within the household waste recycling centre (HWRC) and kerbside streams and its potential for reuse.

The WRAP Cymru report concluded that kerbside textile collections appear to be producing the lowest quality of reusable items and showed higher levels of contamination. During the analysis, textiles collected at HWRCs were a “slightly better quality” of reusable items and showed less contamination compared to kerbside collections.

The report also said that it appears kerbside materials were of a “genuinely lower quality” than HWRC materials. WRAP Cymru said it is unclear whether this is due to the collection method, resident behaviour or the “perception of the service as a ‘waste’ service.”

The report recommends that further research is carried out on the quality of collection and containment methods of kerbside collected textiles.

Send this to a friend