Textile Recycling Association warns sector is on the brink of “collapse”


Textile recycling

The Textile Recycling Association (TRA) has warned the textile recycling industry is on the brink of “imminent collapse” due to global market challenges.

The TRA, which is the recognised trade association for over 75% of the UK’s used textiles collectors and sorters, said the sector faces an “unprecedented financial crisis” amid global market challenges.

The Association said industry fears it will soon be unable to collect textiles from charity shops, recycling centres and community textile banks because processing plants have reached capacity.

Houthi attacks in the Red Sea have disrupted shipping lines and “significantly escalated” operational costs for textile merchants, the TRA said. The Association continued that this situation, alongside tax increases in African and Asian markets, has put the industry under “immense financial strain”.

The TRA said the increased flow of low-quality textiles into the recycling stream caused by fast fashion has also driven up operational costs.

France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Austria have proposed a ban on the export of “used” textiles within the EU, signalling a shift in policy. European countries potentially halting textile sorting operations compound the industry’s fears for its future, the TRA said.

The TRA has urged the UK government to regulate the industry by introducing of an extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme for textiles.

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