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Imagine if a significant portion of the textiles that cannot be reused in their current form could be recycled. That’s part of the vision for the base-case and upside-case scenarios laid out in a recent report on textile recycling in Europe from consulting firm McKinsey.
Here’s the base-case scenario: 50 percent of post-consumer household textile waste in the 27 European Union countries and Switzerland is collected, up from today’s 30 to 35 percent. In the upside case, 80 percent is collected.
A lot has to happen to get to either of those scenarios. Fashion companies need to set ambitious targets for recycling textiles and designing for circularity. Textile manufacturers need to invest in equipment capable of working with recycled fiber. Investors need to support new ways of making textiles. The public sector needs to expand infrastructure to support textile collection and recycling. And there’s more that each of these stakeholders can do.