Webinar Monday 23rd of October 2023 08:30-11:00

Both the volumes of textile waste and the interest in what to do with it, are growing. Fortunately, knowledge about what textile waste consists of is also growing, as is the interest in regulating the sector.

In this webinar, we will summarize several recent reports on textile waste in Norway and other countries, as well as a report that examines whether environmental strategies take seriously the fact that if the textiles are to be used up, then less must be produced.
The clothes we dispose of are often used – but far from used up.

We ask:
– How can discarded textiles be used in the best possible way to ensure new use, and what kind of knowledge enables us to reduce the amount of used but not used up textiles?
– How much textiles, especially synthetics, are disposed of in Norway? What do wasted textiles consist of, and why and how are they disposed of?
– Which regulatory measures will can be implemented in order to reduce the volumes of textile waste?

This is a dissemination seminar under the Wasted Textiles research project at SIFO, Oslomet, funded by the Research Council of Norway and the Norwegian Retailers Environment Fund.

The webinar will be held in English.


Registration and coffee for those who attend physically

Moderator: Jens Måge, Advisor, Avfall Norge

Plastic – The elephant in the room: Who dares to talk about it?
Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Professor, Oslo Metropolitan University – SIFO

Waste analysis in the Wasted Textiles project
Frode Syversen, CEO, Mepex | Kristiane Rabben, Advisor, Mepex Consult AS

Method for Picking Analyses of Textiles – REdu Wasted Textiles Summer Project 2023
Saeid Sheikhi, MSc student in Information Systems and Business Analytics, Høgskolen Kristiania | Siri Vestengen, Masterstudent Economics, Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet (NTNU) | Camilla Sunde, MSc in Informatics: Digital Economics and Leadership, Universitetet i Oslo (UiO) | Eva Valborg Hovda Masterstudent Material Science, Norges teknisk-naturvitenskapelige universitet (NTNU)

Dutch experiences with waste analyzes on textiles – reflections on the types of brands found.
Hilde van Duijn, Head of Global Value Chains, Circle Economy Foundation

Experiences from picking analysis in Svalbard
Henrik Lystad, CEO Norwaste

Coffee break

How can a producer responsibility scheme be set up to reduce environmental impact?
Dina Lingås, Consultant, NORION Consult

Questions and discussion

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Lost in the masses: is product longevity the solution?

When: 18th of October 2023, 10:00-15:15

Where: OsloMet, Pilestredet 35, Ellen Gleditschs hus: PH131, Anna Felbers auditorium (1st floor)

The Lasting project presents findings from 3 years of research on product lifespans and sustainability. The project led by Consumption Research Norway SIFO at Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet) gathered actors from the Norwegian home appliances, textile and furniture sectors. The partners have researched the material streams, consumer and business perspectives as well as policy in the area of product lifetimes with the goal of moving towards a sustainable future where products last for a long time.

This seminar will be of particular interest to anyone working with sustainability, product design, business models or policy development.

The seminar is followed by a workshop where we move from theoretical to practical explorations, examining how we could live with our things in the future. Here we will play around with design briefs based on the project findings.

The seminar will be in English, while the workshop will be in Norwegian.

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9.30 Doors open – coffee available

10:00 Welcome by Harald Throne-Holst, Researcher at SIFO

10:05 Consumer views on increasing product lifetimes by Kirsi Laitala, project leader and Researcher at SIFO

10:30 Let’s see the forest for the trees: industrial ecology insights into product lifetimes by Kamila Krych, PhD Candidate at NTNU

10:55 Conflicting narratives of product longevity by Lisbeth Løvbak Berg, Researcher at SIFO

11:20 Durability in product policy – The limitation of the dream of longer life by Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Professor in Clothing and Sustainability at SIFO

11:45 Lunch

12:30 Lost in sameness: plurality, clothing and durability by Kate Fletcher, Professor at the Royal Danish Academy

12:55 Discussion: overproduction and product longevity

13:25 Coffee break and room change for workshop participants: Room PI451 (4th floor)

13:45 Workshop (in Norwegian): Tingene og oss i fremtiden

15:15 End

The Lasting project is funded by the Research Council of Norway. Read more about the project at the project website (

Natural Fibre Connect Conference 2023

Hybrid event, 28-29th of September 2023.

Tone Skårdal Tobiasson will present the report THE PLASTIC ELEPHANT at the conference.

Natural Fibre Connect (NFC) is an alliance between leading alpaca, cashmere, mohair and wool organisations. The NFC logo represents each of these four natural fibres, woven together by their shared goals and challenges as well as their commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – as seen by its resemblance to the SDG17 icon.

The goal of NFC is a world with more Natural Fibres by 2030. Through its events, NFC enables consensus building as well as sharing and understanding of the growers’ and herders’ perspectives.

In-Person Conference in Biella, Italy

Actively participate and connect with others at the in-person main conference Natural Fibre Connect 2023 hosted in Biellay, Italy – the center for manufacturing precious animal fibres. Visit various mills, listen to live speakers and participate in workshops and panel discussions while also enjoying the beautiful surroundings, food, and drink of Northern Italy.

Online Conference

Join Natural Fibre Connect from the comfort of your home and listen to all live sessions, workshops, and panel discussions. Network with other online participants, visit the online exhibition hall and ask questions. Presentations will be translated into Spanish, Chinese, and Mongolian. Did you miss a session? No problem, all recordings will be available after the conference.

Click here to see the program of the conference (

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The devaluation of stockings

Authors: Tone Rasch, Ingrid Haugsrud, Kirsi Laitala and Atle Wehn Hegnes


Consumer practices related to how we use and take care of products have changed throughout history. Especially within clothing consumption, the changes have accelerated in the Twentieth Century. In this paper, we use thin nylon stockings for women as an example product to see how their value, use, care, and lifetimes have evolved. The material is based on a literature review on nylon stockings from 1940 to today, accompanied by an analysis of consumers’ written narratives from 1990 where people were asked to describe their use and memories of stockings and pantyhose. Our contemporary data is based on consumer focus groups on product lifetimes and plastic materials conducted in 2021 and 2022. The tight-fitting nylon stockings for women were launched around World War II by the American company DuPont. Cheap nylon substituted luxurious silk stockings and increased their popularity throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Around 1970, synthetic substances were devalued when fashion changed from elegance to more casual styles, and the political opposition to plastic as environmental damage and a symbol of the established society permeated the growing youth culture. Consequently, nylon stockings went out of fashion. Today, thin pantyhose is seen as disposable consumables with low value. Thin stockings represent a good example of how we value and take care of delicate items has a significant contribution to their lifetimes. Looking into the historical context is beneficial for learning about the points in time when changes occurred and how they contribute to consumer practices.

Click here to download and read the full article.

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Studying clothing consumption volumes through wardrobe studies: a methodological reflection

Authors: Irene Maldini, Vilde Haugrønning and Lucrecia de León


This paper introduces the relevance of volume-centric research in studies of clothing use. The global production of garments has grown dramatically in recent decades, bringing along significant environmental challenges. However, knowledge is lacking about why people deal with clothing quantities in such varied ways, and what leads some of them to overconsumption. A review of wardrobe research methods shows that there are various approaches to studying garments going in, around, and out of wardrobes. Gathering qualitative insights about specific garments, such as favorite garments, has been quite common. However, in order to advance knowledge about clothing consumption volumes, it is important to look at the wardrobe as a whole and include quantitative aspects. This paper reflects on what approaches and techniques can be used to that end. The reflections are combined with lessons learned from a pilot wardrobe study conducted in Uruguay, Portugal and Norway in 2022 with 20 respondents, concluding with recommendations for volume-centric methods in future wardrobe studies. Rigorous accounts of all garments owned should be combined with registration of items going in and out of the wardrobe over time in order to link accumulation to production and waste volumes. Methods connecting garment quantities with practices of daily use are particularly valuable. One example that has proven successful is piling exercises, a technique where participants are invited to categorize garments in groups according to specific criteria.

Click here to download and read the full article.

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Narratives of product longevity: a business vs. consumer perspective

Authors: Lisbeth Løvbak Berg and Marie Hebrok


This paper explores narratives of product longevity expressed by businesses and consumers, with the aim of illuminating and comparing ways in which the two stakeholder groups express their engagement with products in the context of prolonging their lifespans. We base our analysis on consumer focus groups and interviews with company representatives. Our focus is on textiles (incl. clothing) and furniture. We find that technical and emotional durability are the two dominant ways of understanding product longevity by company representatives. Consumers, however, tell a different story, of living with their things, of use, of time passing, and of life events triggering change. This is a context in which social and systemic factors play a large role in determining the lifespan of a product – factors that are external to the product itself. Although all can agree on the importance of technical durability, problems connected to excessive production volumes and how products feature in everyday life are avoided in narratives produced by business actors. We argue that corporate narratives of product longevity are diverting our attention away from production toward consumption, keeping questions of volume and growth at arm’s length. These conflict with consumer narratives of product longevity that grapple with the materiality of the things within the context of lived lives in a consumer economy.

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Regulating Fast Fashion out of Fashion

Authors: Ingun Grimstad Klepp and Kerli Kant Hvass


Among sustainable fashion and textile themes, product durability has recently come into focus within EU policy making. The dominant understanding is that increased textile lifespan will reduce environmental impacts, but this intrinsic link is not supported by research. The volume of clothing produced poses the greatest environmental burdens. Increased clothes availability leads to longer lifespan due to reduced utilization. To reduce the environmental impact of increased textile volumes measures should be expanded to encompass not only product design, life-prolonging, and end-of-life strategies, but also the volume of products to market. This concept paper contributes to the debate on how to address the growing amount of textile waste by applying the knowledge gained from consumer research regarding clothing use and proposing a regulatory measure called Targeted Producer Responsibility (TPR). The central method of TPR is waste analyses which relies on actual use – or non-use – of products as the starting point for eco-modulated fees. TPR reverses EPR and uses waste for overproduction knowledge, thus proposing a tool that can potentially reduce the total environmental impact of textiles.

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Why won’t you complain? Consumer rights and the unmet product lifespan requirements

Authors: Kirsi Laitala, Lisbeth Løvbak Berg and Pål Strandbakken.


The Consumer Purchases Act is one of the cornerstones for ensuring that businesses are liable for defective or faulty products that do not meet the minimum requirements for lifespans. However, this right is too seldom used by consumers. This paper discusses the reasons for not complaining based on six consumer focus groups, where in total 36 consumers described furniture, electronics, and textile products that they were dissatisfied with. Many complaints were not made due to consumers’ cost-benefit evaluations, where they considered the economic costs, time use, and the needed effort, as well as the probability of getting the complaint accepted. Many participants lacked the competencies required to make the judgment when the right is applicable and where and how to proceed. Further, the expectations based on price and brand, properties of the product such as materials, as well as the type of fault and its relation to use were important. Strengthening and extending consumer rights to complain are discussed as an important part of the strategy to increase the quality of goods and extend their lifetimes. The findings show barriers and opportunities to the efficacy of this strategy that is highly relevant for policy development. There is a need for clear guidelines on what the consumer rights are for the specific products, what is considered unacceptable abrasion and normal use, and differentiation between commercial warranties and legal rights. Complaints are an important avenue for businesses to gain information about the performance of their products, and for legal durability expectations to be enforced.

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Flawed or redundant: products with long lifespans against the odds

Authors: Harald Throne-Holst and Kirsi Laitala


Many strategies are proposed that should enable the consumers to keep using the products for longer, but there is less research on which and how consumer practices contribute to longer lifespans. In this paper we focus on two specific, distinct ways of reaching long lifespans: 1) retaining redundant products even though they are not needed or used, and 2) keeping on using flawed products despite they no longer functioning, fitting, or delivering the expected service level. In the former, the products are passive while in the latter they remain in active use and thus reach longer service life. The discussion is based on six focus groups conducted in connection with the project LASTING. The overarching theme was product longevity of three product groups: electronics, textiles, and furniture. Our analysis points to five categories of explanations for products that are either kept despite the lack of any intention of using them again or retained in active use despite flaws: Economic, Ethical, Social, Emotional, and Intentions. It remains important to focus on active service life and various ways to promote it to reduce the environmental and climate impacts of consumption. The role of each of the five categories will be discussed, as well as implications for sustainability and policy options.

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Garbage talk: Easily outdated, but difficult to date

Text by Tone Skårdal Tobiasson

The results from the Wasted Textiles pilot study, executed by four Master-students Camilla Sunde (UiO), Eva Hovda (NTNU), Siri Vestengen (NTNU) and Saeid Sheikhi (Høyskolen Kristiania) has now been published. Avfall Norge and their summer program REdu, were able to get the pilot financed by The Norwegian Retail Environmental Fund, and the results from the pilot where the four students tested out a system for picking analysis that captures vital information on the textiles that mainly had status as garbage is presented in the report.

The analysis conducted in Slemmestad Mepex-center offers valuable insights into the current status of discarded textiles in Norway. The “TPR” (named for the Targeted Producer Responsibility idea) picking analysis results provide us with information regarding the composition of fibres, garment age, country of production, and brand details of the discarded textiles. This data was taken from the care labels on the products. Over a period of 13 days, the team successfully managed to analyze a total of 3024 items using the TPR picking analysis method that they fine-tuned based on a combination of wardrobe studies and classic waste picking analysis.

Picking analyzes are used for other product groups to say something about use. In food, this form of analysis is used to monitor how much edible food is thrown away from private households (see e.g., this study ( and to monitor and reduce food waste from institutions. The textiles analysed in the report originated from various waste streams: Mepex’s “Klesbyttedag” (clothing swap day), TRV (Trondheim city pilot project on collecting textiles) and residual waste. Residual waste is the hardest to work with because of smell and humidity making it difficult to weigh the items. In the report, the TRV waste is the largest and most important, representing 91.4 % of the material. Textiles from TRV-pilot are supposed to be damaged textiles. Residents of the pilot area in Trondheim were given instructions and special bags for damaged textiles, clothing and shoes. Residents are encouraged to deliver usable textiles to collection boxes already located in the area and to put the bag with destroyed textiles outside for collection on a fixed day, every four weeks. The interns photographed all the items, gave each textile item a number, and registered information on if the brand could be identified if the care label was intact if there was a year of production or when the product entered the market anywhere on the textile, country of origin, fibre-composition, what state of ‘used up-ness’ the items were in, the weight, etc.

The findings in the REdu project, are based on a small sample, 3024 items all in all. 2564 of 3024 items (the total registered) had the brand present either on the label or a logo visible. 708 distinct brands were identified, but a few dominated, H&M being in the lead, followed by Cubus, Lindex and KappAhl. Out of the 3025 analysed textiles only 95 items had the year of production on their care labels, 2905 did not include this information. Of these clothing pieces 14 of them were from NameIt (a Danish children’s brand), 7 from Vero Moda, 7 from Selected – all three Bestseller brands, and 6 of them were from Bik Bok. For the remaining individual brands, 61 items were with a production year. Some brands have labels with codes that may or may not contain this information, that they would need to explain. Some brands said they are willing to help with this information.

The progress in the TPR picking analysis time efficiency showcases the potential for applying picking analysis and the time it might require. In the TPR approach, they utilised several input parameters and managed to analyse an average of 234 items per day, equivalent to around 79 kg. On the other hand, the “fast TPR method” employed fewer input parameters while still capturing details for each item. With this approach, the average number of items examined within a 30-minute span is 29, equal to 7.6 kg per person. The time used to analyze was affected by the different textiles analysed, whereas multilayer and complicated multi-fibre items were more time-consuming.

In assessing the potential of machine learning in textile waste management, the results are promising, but not without challenges. The initial model focusing on textile type classification achieved significant accuracy, with an accuracy of 82.25 %, emphasizing the practicality of using automation for sorting textiles. However, the usability classification model highlighted the need for comprehensive and quality data inputs to predict an item’s reuse potential. While machine learning presents great promise in enhancing sorting efficiency, determining reusability, and promoting fibre-to-fibre recycling, its successful deployment hinges on several factors. These include the expansion and quality improvement of datasets, the integration of advanced sensing technologies, and a broader assessment of environmental, economic, and social impacts.  Ethical considerations are paramount, especially in ensuring that machine learning models operate effectively and ethically. By partnering with Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes, feedback loops between producers and waste management can be optimized.

The data gathered from the examined items highlights the possibility of reusing materials in the textile sector that the consumers themselves deem as garbage.  Assessing the level of wear and tear in clothing was relatively easy, factors like pilling, stains, discolouration, damaged zippers, missing buttons, holes, and general signs of use are easy to spot and register. A majority of the items were in a good usability state, where 42% of the textiles scored a condition of 4 (5 being the highest score indicating mint condition, while 1 is not at all reusable), suggesting that the discarded textiles were not “used up”. Also, 21 items were found with their price tags still attached. While some items displayed minor damages, many of these can be fixed effortlessly at home, pointing towards the value of imparting basic repair skills to consumers.  Notably, 17.66% of items had a maximum usability score of 5, indicating a considerable number of nearly new items being discarded. We will remind the reader there that these were supposed to be worn out or «broken» items, as fully usable textiles were supposed to be donated in the donation boxes.  

The data obtained from this analysis holds significant importance in comprehending the possibilities of automated sorting, material reuse, and recycling. It provides a foundation for introducing strategic methods like extended producer responsibility (EPR) and policies focused on waste prevention. Hopefully, the TPR picking analysis can be used to assess eco-modulated environmental fees in an EPR scheme, aiming to ultimately decrease excessive textile production in the fast fashion sector. In 2022, 105 913 tonnes of new textiles which are equivalent to 19.3 kg per capita, were put on the Norwegian market, so future data collection is not in danger of not having materials to study, once textile waste will be collected separately from 2025.

Click here to read the full report (