Valorising valueless textile
The City of Rotterdam is in a unique position to valorise valueless textiles: not only is textile collected from the Rotterdam citizens, the city is also a major transit port for used textiles from the Netherlands and abroad.
If we manage to capture and recycle (part of) these non-rewearable textile flows locally, Rotterdam could produce and export its own resources for the (textile) industry instead of volumes of textile (waste) with unknown destinations and future uses. Doing so Rotterdam could contribute to the realisation of its own, the national and European circular ambitions, while generating jobs in the region by incentivizing local sorting and recycling of used textiles.
The valorisation of the ‘valueless’ share of discarded textile could add a new chapter to the business model of textile collectors and sorters. Such financial incentives are fundamental to increase the share of collected textile and raise its circular potential.
A last resort for the ‘valueless’ share of the textile mountain does not emerge spontaneously yet requires the active collaboration between the (local) government, supply chain- as well as knowledge partners. The right (combination of) textile recycling technology can only be determined based on an assessment of the volume and composition of the textile flows in Rotterdam city and port to ensure it maximises the material, financial and societal value created.
Such a last resort for ‘valueless’ textiles could turn European cities like Rotterdam from exporters of low-value textile waste into producers of valuable and affordable resources for the (textile) industry.