Key market developments for recovered UK textiles, including trends in supply, demand and prices have been explored in a Textiles Market Situation Report – a new resource now available.
The succinct report, compiled by UK resource efficiency experts, WRAP, looks at the market past and present. It summarises key trends and highlights opportunities for creating new sustainable end markets in the UK and abroad.
Key themes in the report include:
- Around 1.7 million tonnes of UK textiles are consumed every year, 1.1 million tonnes of which is clothing
- Clothing consumption in the UK is rising
- The amount of textiles collected for re-use and recycling increased from 2010, reaching a peak at an estimated 650,000 tonnes in 2014. However preliminary data suggests that in 2015 textiles collected fell by around 4%, partly due to a decrease in the price that operators can get for used textiles in the various end-markets
- The main destination for used UK textiles is overseas. However overseas demand for used UK textiles has started to decrease and prices have been falling since 2013
- Recent trends highlight the need for a wide range of sustainable end-markets. These include re-use markets at home and overseas, as well as developing recycling grade markets for textiles that aren’t suitable for re-use, including fibre-to-fibre options
Marcus Gover, Director at WRAP, said: “The sector is facing a challenging time and having access to this in-depth information and analysis, summarised in one place, provides useful insights to help inform their business decisions.”
Marcus Gover, Director at WRAP, said: “The sector is facing a challenging time and having access to this in-depth information and analysis, summarised in one place, provides useful insights to help inform their business decisions”
Alan Wheeler, Director at Textile Recyclers Association, said: “The used clothing industry is going through an extremely difficult period both here in the UK and globally. Political and economic pressures are being put on existing markets and this report shows that resultant UK collections actually decreased slightly in 2015.
“Yet consumption of new clothing is continuing to rise, with clothing prices still generally much lower than they used to be. Continuing downward pressure on prices for used clothing is inevitable for some time to come.
“The UK needs to take a longer more strategic view on how to develop new markets which need to be less reliant on used clothing exports and consideration of how to finance these developments needs to be given a high priority.”
The textiles and clothing industry is the 5th largest contributor to the UK’s carbon footprint. Reducing the environmental impact of UK clothing and textiles is a key part of WRAP’s work. To do so WRAP is working with industry through the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) in the UK, and more widely in Europe through the European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP).