Gaining benefits from discarded textiles

LCA of different treatment pathways

image of Gaining benefits from discarded textiles

Nordic consumers purchase 365 000 tonnes of new clothing and home textiles each year. After food, housing and mobility, textiles is our consumption area that causes most environmental impacts. Reusing and recycling used textiles can offset some of these impacts but with an increasing number of options available, government and business need more information to make decisions on which pathways to choose.

The Nordic Council of Ministers commissioned a consortium to carry out an LCA study to compare the environmental benefits of treatment options. Reuse was found to give by far the greatest benefits, regardless of whether the textiles are reused in the Nordic region or exported for reuse elsewhere. Further down the waste hierarchy, recycling is a better environmental option than incineration, although the benefits are moderate compared to the benefits of reuse.

The primary aim of the project was to provide a database that can assist policymakers and businesses to estimate the environmental benefits of strategies for gathering and treating discarded textiles. As such this report presents only a fraction of the results of the LCA modelling. Hundreds of additional results can be found in a number of spreadsheets that can also be downloaded here.



Links to results

Appendix B contains links to excel files in.csv-format with the characterised results for all 18 scenarios in the five geographical settings. The intention is that interested person shall be able to use the basic results for further calculations using volumes and EOL treament routes defined outside the frames of the current study.


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