“With more than 300,000 tonnes of clothing being sent to landfill or incineration every year, it’s important that we find ways to make the textiles sector more sustainable and environmentally friendly.”
UK environmental charity Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) is offering a total of £1.5 million in grants to support projects that provide innovative ways for textile waste to be recycled or re-used, keeping it out of landfill or incineration so that it remains a valuable resource. The money is part of the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ £18m Resource Action Fund, set up to support key priority policy areas.
The grants, of between £20,000 and £170,000, are available to organisations of any size, both commercial and not-for-profit. The money is for capital expenditure only; either for equipment or technologies (excluding software and apps) that enable recycling or re-use of clothing or linen waste textiles.
Each project will require match funding: 10% from not-for-profit and 50% from commercial organisations. Successful projects will need to demonstrate “innovation beyond normal practice” and will be assessed against a number of criteria.
Increased textiles collection and reprocessing is required in the UK to help deliver the Resource and Waste Strategy (R&WS) and the Circular Economy Package (CEP) objectives. Existing markets for recycled textiles are small scale and traditional, with little innovation or growth potential. To meet the requirement for separate collections of textiles by 2025, new processes and markets need to be found, to avoid separately collected items simply being discarded.
In addition, feedback from the textiles recycling sector suggests that export markets may diminish over time as other countries increase their exports of used textiles. The aim of this grant fund is to address the need for increased capacity, sorting, handling, and reprocessing textiles from municipal sources.
Peter Maddox, Director of WRAP UK (@WRAP_UK), said: “We’re looking for really imaginative solutions to the barriers to textile recycling and re-use, such as new technologies, interventions or equipment that hasn’t been tried and tested before. We have had a tremendous response to previous Resource Action Fund grant funding offers, and I confidently expect a similar level of quality applications for this offer.”
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow (@pow_rebecca) said: “Fast fashion is having a real impact on our environment. With more than 300,000 tonnes of clothing being sent to landfill or incineration every year, it’s important that we find ways to make the textiles sector more sustainable and environmentally friendly. I look forward to seeing the innovative solutions that are awarded funding under this new grant scheme.”