Recycling Old Clothes Could Save £4m Of Public Sector Money
Not only are there business benefits from adopting new approaches and reusing higher quantities of materials, but significant money can be saved in the public sector by creating systems of reuse and material cycling. Recent research suggests that £4m in taxpayer public sector money could be saved every year in the county of Surrey, England alone by diverting textiles away from landfill.
The county’s local councils claim to spend around £1m per year on the disposal of unwanted clothing and other textiles, while also estimating a missed opportunity of £3m from the reselling of those goods.
Opportunities from the disposed of materials include direct reselling, but also turning old products into felt, insulation or stuffing.
Since identifying the opportunity, the Surrey local authorities have launched a campaign to collect higher volumes of textiles waste with the support of local charity and community groups.
This is one local example where creating a flow of materials brings significant advantages. Textiles is an interesting sector for the circular economy. The technology doesn’t exist on a commercial scale to retrieve significant raw material from most clothing, but as this example highlights, there are opportunities to extend the life of textiles products.