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Textile Recycling EXcellence

Project description

A circular system for recycling Europe’s household textile waste

Less than 1 % of materials used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing. From January 2025, a directive requires 27 Member States to implement a separate household textile waste collection scheme and comply with rising minimum recycling objectives. Legislation is not enough to deal with the issue. Creating a circular system for post-consumer textile waste faces many challenges, including a lack of EU-wide standards for collecting and sorting textile waste across countries, inaccurate composition claims, variable material quality and a lack of reliable data across value chain stakeholders. The EU-funded T-REX project aims to demonstrate how household textile waste can become a new feedstock and business model for the textile industry by engaging key actors across the entire value chain.


The global consumption of textiles is increasing, with global production of the two most relevant fibres, cotton and polyester, expected to grow by 40% before 2023. There is also no EU-wide plan on how to deal with the existing and anticipated textile waste: currently less than 1% of the material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing in a closed-loop process while 87% is landfilled or incinerated. By January 2025 new EU Directive 2018/851 will require all member states to establish a separate household textile waste collection and respect increasing minimum recycling goals, but the pure legislative approach cannot alone solve the growing textile waste problem. Based on estimates from experts, we see that 1% of textile waste entering closed loops leads to 100B euros market loss each year. If a 30% recycling rate is reached (similar to average plastic packaging recycling rates), we will be able to valorize a 30 billion euros/year market.

The ambition of T-REX is to contribute to a paradigm shift from household textile waste into desired feedstock. Moreover, we aim to demonstrate that this new commodity and the business models based on it can be completely implemented within the EU. By involving major players across the whole value chain, we aim to demonstrate that a new ecosystem approach, with harmonized methods and quality criteria, can lead to a better understanding of our current textile waste and therefore better upcycling rates into new garments. We also intend to demonstrate that such products can appeal to consumers while at the same time be designed for further recycling. Our goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 30% across the complete value chain by 2030 by helping to end plastic waste.

This project will arm the EU with a commercially viable option to tackle the textile waste and the environmental problems it causes, whilst offering new fields to explore for EU businesses, new know-how for our citizens and, new workforces for the future.



Net EU contribution
€ 1 457 749,00
91074 Herzogenaurach

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Bayern Mittelfranken Erlangen-Höchstadt
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 2 082 500,00

Participants (10)

Partners (1)