The fashion industry produces up to 10% of global CO2 emissions, is the second largest consumer of water of any industry, has significant impacts on water and ocean pollution.
In Ireland, about 68,000 tonnes textiles are discarded every year by householders and commercial users. By comparison, about 14,500 tonnes of textiles are reused by ICSA members. If we could divert just 15% of textiles currently discarded, over 100,000 tonnes carbon could be avoided.
Developing a Circular Textiles System for Ireland will involve a pilot programme to test the impact of three different separate collection systems – such as kerbside/ door-to-door collections, new collection points or communications providing information about where and what to donate – for used textiles on the Irish market. These three pilots, Donate Don’t Waste, are taking place in Arklow Co Wicklow, Buncrana Co Donegal and Charleville Co Cork.
To our knowledge, a project of this nature has not been carried out before. It is particularly important to test systems in Ireland because of our unique context – with an extensive charity retail sector and privatised waste collection system. A communications campaign will be a key element of the pilot.
The project will also explore how we could manage the additional quantity of textiles that are collected. This will provide local business opportunities and support resilience.
In addition to the EPA, the project involves a wide range of stakeholders including the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, RREUSE, Clean Technology Centre at MTU, the Irish Charity Shop Association and its members including the project’s charity partner The Society of St. Vincent’s de Paul (SVP), the Rediscovery Centre, Southern Waste Management Plan Lead Authority, local authorities Wicklow County Council, Donegal County Council and Cork County Council.
CRNI is leading an EPA Green Enterprise project Circular Textiles, which will test the impact of three different separate collection systems for textiles and explore how we could manage the additional quantity of textiles that are collected. This project will be concluded in 2022.
For more information about the project see here.