Multi-stakeholder meeting in Delhi to solve urgent textile waste problem

Less than one percent of all fibres from clothing are recycled into new fibres. Today, a large proportion of used textiles are thrown in the household waste in Sweden as well as in other countries, and are then incinerated. This is, not least, an enormous waste of the earth's resources. No later than 1 January 2025, the EU's new waste directive comes into force, which means that all EU countries must collect textile waste separately from other waste.

“Within the next few years, low-quality textile waste will increase enormously, and we must find ways to deal with it. Today, there is no economic value in that type of waste and there is no European country that can deal with that volume of problem alone. It is possible to recycle these textiles, but to do so, several obstacles must be overcome. We think cross-border trade valorisation is necessary to operate successful business corridors and ecosystems dedicated to textile recycling, and these will supplement EU’s operations. We do that best together, we researchers from academia, decision makers, industry, businesses, and society,” said Rudrajeet Pal, Professor of Textile Management at the Swedish School of Textiles, one of the main organisers of the Indo-Swedish multi-stakeholder event Repositioning Indian textile recycling sector into global context.

In recent years, India has become a major mechanical recycling hub with multi-stakeholder investment projects, with giant textile players taking the lead. The list of participants includes representatives from the Government of India, the EU, the Swedish and Danish Embassies, the World Bank Group, and companies such as H&M, Marks and Spencer, Aditya Birla, Rester Oy, and Pure Waste Textiles, to name a few. Researchers from the Swedish School of Textiles and Linköping University, the Indian Institute of Technology, and the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT Kangra) in India, represent academia.

“We won't solve these issues in one day, but the hope is to create a common platform, to brainstorm from different perspectives. We will present some conclusions and after that make sure to keep the ball rolling,” said Rudrajeet Pal.

Read more and participate

Programme for Repositioning Indian textile recycling sector into global context 9 February (PDF file)

The research group Textile Value Chain Management (TVCM)