Wasted Textiles objective is to reduce the use of synthetic textiles and the amount wasted. The project is led by Ingun Grimstad Klepp at SIFO/OsloMet and financed by Research Council of Norway and Norwegian Retailers' Environment Fond. The use of plastic has increased rapidly over the last 50 years and synthetic make up an estimated 60% of the global fibre production. Synthetics contribute to microplastics, pollute nature, endangering all life and are problematic in waste treatment. The project will increase knowledge about synthetics in clothing and other products: hygiene products, toys, sports equipment, etc..
Wasted Textiles har started by mapping all textiles that go out of use. It is at this stage we refer to the textiles as "wasted", and thus end up in many different waste streams, donated, forgotten in storage or even lost in nature. From this point in the product's life, we look backwards and forwards in the value chain and ask:
1. What do wasted textiles consist of, how and why is it generated and disposed of?
2. What amount of textiles, especially synthetic, are wasted in Norway?
3. How can consumption of synthetic textiles be minimised, replaced or utilised?
4. What are the environmental, economic and societal impacts of circular economy strategies for consumption and disposal of synthetic textiles?
5. Which regulatory measures can be implemented and be feasible in reducing the volume of synthetic textile waste?
The 5 questions correspond with work packages; WP leaders are Klepp and Kirsi Laitala, SIFO/OsloMet; Frode Syversen, Mepex Consult; Gisle Mardal/Kjersti Kviseth, NF&TA; and Moana Simas, SINTEF. Tone Skårdal Tobiasson leads dissemination while Jens Måge, Avfall Norge, leads the steering group. Anna Schytte Sigaard holds the doctoral research fellowship in the project. Important partners are Fretex, the Norwegian Consumer Council, the Future in Our Hands and Kerli Kant Hvass, as well as member companies in the NGOs and the Faculty of Technology, Art and Design at OsloMet. The project thus brings together the entire clothing sector in Norway: production, design, use and disposal.
The project can be followed at: https://clothingresearch.oslomet.no/wasted-textiles/
Wasted Textiles will reduce the amount of textile waste and the proportion of synthetic textiles that goes to waste by employing two interrelated solutions: 1) reducing synthetic textiles that go to waste and the use of synthetic fibres in textile products, and 2) increasing the resource efficiency of synthetics through looking at both technical, regulatory, market and consumer barriers. We will study pure synthetic textiles and blended textile products such as clothes, shoes, packaging, hygiene items, toys and more from private households and pre-consumer waste (unsold excess goods) generated during sales and distribution. The project will be based on a comprehensive mapping of all textiles that go out of use in households (WP1). Through this mapping, we will gain knowledge about the material composition and individual history of textiles. An important inquiry will also be to estimate the proportion of synthetic fibres. The quantities of textile waste and donated textiles (including unsold excess goods from retail) are measured in WP2. Based on these mappings, we will develop solutions for waste prevention, value creation and reduction by involving industry and design students (WP3), evaluate circular strategies such as new BMs (WP4), followed by proposals for regulatory measures and industry development in general, collaboration platforms, innovation clusters, awareness campaigns etc., and how to promote these (WP5). Impact from the project will be ensured through dissemination to various audiences including consumers, industry, policy makers and public authorities (WP6). Close collaboration between the entire value chain, both in the form of individual companies, associations, municipalities and interest groups, will ensure that the implementation and development of knowledge go hand in hand.