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UK Textile Recycling Association calls for regulation, warns of sector’s collapse

By Rachel Douglass


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Sustainability vs Consumerism Credits: Alicia Reyes Sarmiento//FashionUnited. This image was created using an AI tool.

The UK’s Textile Recycling Association (TRA) is calling on the government to introduce regulations similar to ones brought to the EU in an attempt to avoid the “imminent collapse of the textile recycling sector”.

The trade organisation, which oversees 75 percent of the region’s used textiles collectors and sorters, said that due to “global market challenges” there is a fear that the industry may be unable to collect from charity shops, recycling centres and community textile banks in light of processing plants reaching capacity.

The TRA noted that if such obstacles were to dismantle the recycling system, it could result in “devastating environmental consequences”, such as microplastic pollution.

There has also been concern over the possibility of European countries halting textile sorting operations, with many already having proposed bans on the export of ‘used’ textiles within the EU.

As such, the TRA is urging the UK government to regulate the industry and introduce an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, as seen in the EU, which would ensure that companies take more responsibility for what happens to their products when they are no longer in use.

Those that the regulation applies to would have to start paying for the collection, sorting and recycling of textile products in the hope that they would ultimately begin to produce items that are easier to recycle.

To conclude, the organisation said: “The TRA remains steadfast in its commitment to advocating for the interests of textile merchants and fostering collaboration within the industry to overcome these obstacles.”

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