Textile recycling industry on the verge of ‘imminent collapse’, warns trade body

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The textile recycling industry is on the verge of “imminent collapse”, the Textile Recycling Association (TRA) has warned.

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

It cited fears that the industry will soon not be able to collect textiles from charity shops, recycling centres and community textile banks because processing plants have reached capacity.

It also highlighted global events impacting the industry such as Houthi attacks in the Red Sea disrupting shipping lines and “significantly escalated” operational costs for textile merchants,.

It added that tax increases in African and Asian markets have put the industry under “immense financial strain”.


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Operational costs have also been driven up by the increased flow of low-quality textiles into the recycling stream caused by fast fashion while European countries potentially halting textile sorting operations compound the industry’s fears for its future, the TRA said.

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

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

Earlier this month, campaigners welcomed the European Parliament’s backing of food and textile reforms but say the targets “fall short” of meeting international commitments.

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