Prevention of Textile Waste

Material flows of textiles in three Nordic countries and suggestions on policy instruments

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Textile exerts various environmental impacts throughout its life cycle. Prevention of textile waste is one means to reduce these impacts. This study seeks to map-out the flow of textile products in the three Nordic Countries – Denmark, Finland and Sweden – from the time they are put on the market until they are discarded. Based on the findings on the flows as well as on the perception of stakeholders, the study reviews and discusses government interventions that may be useful for the enhancement of textile waste prevention. Potential use of various policy instruments based on the concept of extended producer responsibility (EPR) is analysed. The study indicates a handful of areas where further research is needed in order to fine-tune policy actions that would best address the situation specific to the case countries.




Textile is an indispensable element of human society throughout its history. In addition to the maintenance of basic needs – protecting themselves from outside environment and maintaining necessary condition for survival –, human being have been using textile products as means of expressing their identities, wealth, power and the like and it has been an important commodity traded globally over centuries. As of 2008, the market of apparel, accessories and luxury goods generated 1,334.1 billion dollars in total worldwide (Research and Markets, 2009, as sited in Forum for the Future and Levis Strauss & Co., 2010).


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