Textiles Collection Guide

4th May 2016

This interactive guide is designed to help local authorities and textiles collectors such as charities, waste management companies and textile merchants, increase textile re-use and recycling.

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Key findings
Re-use items are key to making textile collections profitable for organisations
Over 75% of the material collected in these trials was re-use grade
Therefore economically viable opportunities exist for local authorities, organisations and charities working in re-use.



This report provides practical guidance and examples of existing good practice for three key routes: kerbside textile collection services; bring banks; and community re-use initiatives.

It gives detailed guidance on:

  • How to communicate textile re-use and recycling services to the public
  • Creating new arrangements, reviewing your existing approach, and further development and promotion of existing services
  • Creating partnerships with organisations such as charities and community groups
  • How to select the right mix of services
  • How to commission services and, how to work with partners and stakeholders

To read the full results of this research, navigate to the “chapters” tab to find information on a particular section of the report:

Read chapter 1: Recycling grade textiles collection demonstration projects >>
Read chapter 2: Case studies >>
Read chapter 3: Textiles guidance manual >>
Read chapter 4: Legal assistance >>



Recycling grade textiles collection demonstration projects

In 2013 WRAP sought expressions of interest from interested parties to establish and operate a number of six-month demonstration projects aimed at increasing the collection of recycling grade textiles (including clothing and non-clothing items such as curtains and bed linen) for recycling.

Three authorities were selected to run demonstration projects: Norfolk County Council, South Holland District Council and Woking Borough Council. The aim of each of the demonstration projects was to help determine:

  • The most viable way(s) to collect recycling grade textiles
  • If such collections result in additional textiles being diverted from the residual waste stream
  • If public perception is a major barrier to the capture of recycling grade textiles
  • The overall business case for separately collecting recycling grade textiles

The demonstration projects build on the work carried out by WRAP in 2012/13 using survival sacks to collect textiles as part of mixed kerbside recycling collections.

This summary report outlines the key questions local authorities may ask when considering introducing a recycling grade textiles collection service, and draws on the learnings from the demonstration projects to answer them.

To jump directly into this report, please use the contents list below:

Jump to:

Introduction >>
Collection Service >>
Material stream >>
Public perception and communications >>
Business Case >>
Conclusions >>

Register and download the full report >>


Case studies

The following case studies detail the demonstration projects run as part of this study:

Kerbside textile collection for charity: London Borough of Bexley and Traid

Working in partnership with local clothing and textile charity, TRAID, London Borough of Bexley Council offered a free collection service to 8,000 households on a one-off collection round.

This case study explores the potential community and economic benefits of third-sector organisations like charities, running community textile collection events on behalf of local authorities.

Read the case study >>

Co-mingled kerbside textile collection: Southend-On-Sea

This case study explores the existing textile co-mingled, kerbside refuse sack collection of textiles and details collection rates, economic benefits and the associated costs of this collection method.

To find out more, read the case study:

Read the case study >>

Joint contract for textile collection bring services: SE Wales Regional Waste Group

The initiative explored in this case study was coordinated by Resource Efficiency Wales (REW) – a not-forprofit resource efficiency consultancy in Wales. REW has a dedicated SE Wales local authority funded co-ordinator to investigate opportunities to improve resource efficiency and achieve financial savings.

As part of this project REW worked with nine local authorities to explore the idea of joint collections from textiles bring banks.

Read the case study >>

“RECAP – Wear it, Love it, Share it!”

In 2011, WRAP research found that the amount of reusable or recyclable textiles disposed of in the residual household waste stream in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough cost the local authorities over £220,000 annually in disposal costs and, based on the value of these materials at the time of the study, this material had a value of £450,000.

As part of this demonstration, WRAP worked with the local authorities and re-use organisations in the area to test the viability of unlocking this value:

Read the case study >>

Textiles guidance manual

This interactive guide provides practical guidance and examples of existing good practice for three key routes. It gives guidance on how to communicate textile re-use and recycling services to the public and can be used to help put in place new arrangements, review the existing approach, or further develop and promote existing services.

The guidance covers how to select the right mix of services, how to commission services and, how to work with partners and stakeholders, such as charities and community groups.

To read the full results of this research, navigate directly to the section you need use the following contents menu:

Jump to:

Understanding textile re-use and recycling >>
Policy context, legislation and drivers >>
Choosing the right methods for textile re-use and recycling >>
Kerbside and door-to-door collections >>
Bring banks >>
Community re-use >>
How to promote textile re-use and recycling >>
Monitoring and evaluation >>
Glossary >>
Sources of further information >>

Register and download the full report >>

Legal assistance

As part of this suite of guidance on textile collections, WRAP has also developed the following legal advice in partnership with the Textile Recycling Association and Environmental Advisors Ltd:

Textiles collections – a review of legal and operational requirements >>
Guidance on the legal removal of clothing and textile banks >>

Register and download the legal assistance documents >>

Where next?

Want to know more about re-use and recycling in sustainable textiles? Take a look at our reports, guides, tools and case studies for further information: 

Reports >>
Guides >>
Tools >>
Case studies >>