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UK textile exports declined due to falling overseas reuse & recycling demand

According to a new report from the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), demand from overseas reuse and recycling market for used textiles from the UK has dropped significantly. The report said that the market for used textiles (clothing and non-clothing excluding carpets and mattresses) has experienced an apparent turning point. The last few years saw substantial growth in exports, accompanied by large price rises and reports of an influx of new entrants into the market.

However, market conditions were said to have now changed, with demand from overseas markets stalling in 2014, and now falling. WRAP also found that prices and revenues from exports have been falling since 2013/14.

According to WRAP the textiles and clothing industry is the 5th largest contributor to the UK’s carbon footprint and that simply extending the life of clothes by an extra nine months of active use would reduce the carbon, water and waste impacts by around 20-30 per cent. It was also claimed that providing 1 ton of clothing for direct reuse e.g. donate to a charity shop or sale through eBay can result in a net GHG saving of 11 tons of CO2 equivalent.

WRAP’s Textiles Market Situation Report, looked at the market past and present and summarises key trends and highlights opportunities for creating new sustainable end markets in the UK and abroad.