New method to capture relationship between properties and use

Waste audit interviews: A method for understanding the link between intrinsic quality and apparel lifespans, is the latest publication from Consumption Research Norway SIFO at Oslo Metropolitan University, co-authored by Kirsi Laitala and Ingun Grimstad Klepp.

New proposed regulation of clothing and textiles in the EU necessitate a deeper understanding of the products, encompassing their usage patterns, duration of use, and strategies for prolonging their lifespan and enhancing utilization rates. SIFO has therefore developed a new method for this purpose, and are simultaneously asking for funding to do studies based on the method, in order to guide the regulation processes for clothing and textiles.

The method is based on the many years of research in this sector, pioneered through wardrobe studies, and lately enhanced by waste audits of different waste streams. The former method is extremely rich in data-collection, but very costly; the latter captures data by casting the net wider, but with less detail about how long the service life has been. Further, the method connects the real use of clothing with results measured in a laboratory related to physical durability. This approach shows that it is feasible to measure the use phase objectively, something policy makers, the industry and research organizations advising policy have so far deemed to be “difficult” or “impossible”.

This note gives an overview of the method and the project proposal, with a rough budget estimate.

The note can be accessed and downloaded here.

TPR gets some serious airplay

Volumes, policy measures and Targeted Producer Responsibility all fitted into discussions the week before Easter, where some of us jumped back and forth between Webex, Zoom and Teams, recordings and live webinars. The take-aways are that several policy tools are mired in antiquated ideas that seriously need updating from research, and that the conversations around volumes and sufficiency are what actually can drive change.

STICA’s Climate Action Week coincided with intense webinars from EU’s Joint Research Center on ESPR’s stakeholder review and also PEFCR for apparel and footwear’s open hearing, presented by the Technical Secretariate’s lead. Yes, it was dizzying, but most importantly, Targeted Producer Responsibility and questions surrounding how EU actually plans to address the issue of volumes and degrowing the sector did got airplay.

Kerli Kant Hvass, who is one of our Wasted Textiles partners, presented Targeted Producer Responsibility during the session on the obstacles facing new circular business models during STICA’s Climate Action Week, hosted by Michael Schragger from Sustainable Fashion Academy and lead for Scandinavian Textile Initiative for Climate Action (STICA). In the session Circular Business Models Are Critical for Climate Action – So What Is Preventing Them from Becoming Mainstream? she explained the concept, and continued her argument during the panel discussion towards the end:

“Focusing on the product and assuming this will result in sustainability has serious limitations. Instead, collecting data in the waste streams, and establishing if a product has been used for half a year or for ten years, actually establishing its duration of service (DoS), can give the database for modulating fees.”

TPR got nods

We noticed that Maria Rincon-Lievana, from the EU Commission and DG ENV nodded a lot when Kerli repeated this. Sarah Gray from UK’s WRAP, who is wrapping up a PhD on to what degree circular business models actually have climate and environmental impact, wholeheartedly backed Kerli’s call for dating products in order to gain data on the actual DoS of products for comprehensive LCAs.  

Sadly Paola Migliorini, also from DG ENV, did not hear when Luca Boniolo from Environmental Coalition on Standards (ECOS) said the following in the session on The Legislative Race Is On: Legislation & Regulation in the European Union (we can only hope she reheard the entire session later):

“Labelling regulation presents an opportunity (…) for instance introducing the production date on the label (…) we can know how long the product has been circulated at the end of life. If we do waste audits, we can estimate the DoS to understand was it used to 10 years or was it used for two weeks and then it was discarded and it can also support consumers in knowing that they have the right of a legal guarantee from the purchase date of two years during which if the product fails under normal circumstances, they have the right of it being repaired for free.”

He said much of the same during the session on Sufficiency, To Green-growth, Overconsumption & Degrowth: Can Sufficient Emissions Reductions Be Achieved in the Current Paradigm?

“EPR can for instance be based on how long the product was on the market based on waste audits and the date of production, and thus we can modulate who will have to pay a higher fee. We need to incentivize the reduction of the volumes placed on the market.”

This is the whole idea behind TPR, and even if Luca did not specifically mention TPR, he was voicing the principles behind it.

Old-fashioned or not fit for purpose, or both?

So, what is old-fashioned about the approach the policy-makers are taking? What are the tools that are not fit for purpose?

As it was ESPR and PEFCR we were lectured on the same week, the following thoughts arise.

ESPR (Ecodesign for Sustainable Product Regulation) clearly is based on the faulty assumption that 80% of a product’s environmental impact is decided in the design phase. So, it is intertwined with predicting for example durability, repairability, recyclability and thereby assuming DoS. The problem is, as SIFO research shows, only one-third of textile products or apparel go out of use because they are used up, so if ESPR is going to eco-modulate EPR fees (which seems to be the idea) this will be based on pure guess-work, or what could be more diplomatically called predictions.

TPR suggests the opposite, building the eco-modulation on what becomes waste prematurely and modulated ‘against’ what captures value in the new business models, as Kerli so well described in her presentation.

The hen or the egg?

For PEFCR (Product Environmental Category Rules) the problem is that they are meant to underpin ESPR, but JRC have actually not decided if they are fit for purpose, they said as much in their presentation. So, currently PEF seems to be in limbo, perhaps only fit for Green Claims (Baptiste Carriere-Pradal said as much in his presentation, but also hinting that ESPR would have to use PEF).

PEF is not aiming to be a consumer-facing label, only a set of 16 “frankenproducts” (12 for apparel, four for footwear) which you as a company can compare your product to, and say if your product is “greener” than the “frankenproduct” based on very strict LCA parameters. The data-base that these parameters are resting on, have serious data issue, and may be why France when presenting their “amost-PEF-compatible” label, have taken out one of them (physical durability), In addition, France also is not making GHG emissions the most important parameter – counting for 1/4th of the ‘score’, which PEF currently does.

The main problem, though, is understanding. Consumers understanding what and why.

Simply: In ESPR there is a demand for recycled content, and this is heavily stressed. During the sessions, I asked simply “why?” and presented the latest IVL report with a 1.3% climate reduction for large-scale recycling in the EU. What also surfaced during the week was that only 11% of EU’s population want recycled content. So, win-win or lose-lose to demand recycled content?

Apparel for real life or for bureaucratic purposes?

The issue then feeds into PEF, and how the scores of the “frankenproducts” actually have meaning when talking about real life. Why are stockings, socks and leggings the same “frankenproduct”? What are sweaters actually – when we all know they differ enormously and also their function. It seems, in the end, that everything is a desktop solution for real life actualities.

Having good clothes that are fit for purpose, not apparel that fit policy purposes, should be the goal. They will be used the longest and deliver on DoS. Using ESPR, with PEF as the underpinning logic, will not at all help either the environment, climate change or Europe’s consumers.

So, all in all, listening to the STICA webinar, so well organized by Michael Schragger, gives better insight on where we need to go, than both the JRC organized webinar (which sadly is not publicly available even if it was recorded) and the PEFCR webinar (which can actually be accessed), put together. EU still needs to get their heads around that it’s not at the product level, but at the systems level, that change needs to happen. Let’s hope STICA gave them food for thought.

Used but not used up – what do we know about textile waste?

If you are interested in the findings presented during the hybrid seminar, the video and the presentations are now available.

Both the volumes of textile waste, and the interest in what to do with it, is growing. Fortunately, knowledge about what textile waste consists of is also growing, as is the interest to regulate 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 are often used – but far from used up.

– How can disposed 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 in Norway? What does wasted textiles consist of, why and how are they disposed?
– Which regulatory measures will can be implemented in order to reduce the volumes of textile waste?

Click here to see the video (link).

Click here to find the PDFs of the presentations (link).

This is an open 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 Plastic Elephant tramples into the international conference room

The opening session at the Natural Fiber Connect conference in Biella, Italy at the very end of September, put the increasingly frequently mentioned elephant in the room center stage, namely overproduction and the plasticization that characterizes the textile industry.

The fact that the Italian Minister of the Environment opened the conference with a video greeting testifies to how important the textile industry is to the Italians, and not least how seriously they take the environmental problems that the same industry stands for. But in contrast to the industry as a whole, they have a great understanding that production, and particularly of synthetic materials, must be reduced considerably – which means more expensive textiles and more focus on natural fibres. This is music to the ears of the Italian industry, but also to natural fiber representatives who had gathered in Biella: cashmere, alpaca, wool, cotton and silk producers from farm level up to spinning mills, weaving mills and other industries.

Weighting the environmental burden

The key note speech was given by Veronica Bates-Kassatly. In contrast to Make The Label Count’s approach, which is currently persistently arguing that more parameters must be included in EU’s PEFCR, such as biodegradability, microplastics and renewability; Bates-Kassatly had the opposite approach. She believes that greenhouse gas emissions must be weighted much more (i.e. CO2 emissions in her argument), and that many of the 16 parameters that the EU’s Joint Research Center has decided should be included should be cut out or weighted much less. This includes water use and land use, two things which turns out to be unfortunate for natural fibres, but where the differences are large on a global basis so that average figures make very little sense. For example, a Norwegian sheep on open pasture will use huge areas of land to produce a few kilograms of wool, and this counts negatively.

Stand to increase plastics rather than decrease

A recent report from SIFO, the Plastic Elephant, followed Bates-Kassatly’s key note and the silk industry’s strong criticism of the data base for Higg and PEF (silk comes out as the worst fibre). The main message in the SIFO report is that a review of policy instruments, strategies from the industry and NGOs shows that to a very small extent they consider what can be done to reduce the volumes and not least to reduce the large increase over the last 40 years in synthetic materials and fast fashion. When the EU’s Textile Strategy wants to make “fast fashion out of fashion”, none of the tools in the toolbox are sufficient and, if anything, they will increase plasticisation. The report explains why, and the audience at the conference nodded their heads tellingly when the reasoning was explained.

The fact that the audience laughed out loud and applauded when the actual background for the Plastic Elephant report was presented at the start was, of course, liberating. This meant taking the audience back to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in 2017, where the first Pulse report postulated that consumers must be persuaded to prefer synthetics to cotton; and where EcoAge’s Livia Firth asked H&M’s Helena Helmersson: “Why do you have to produce so much and constantly push new collections on consumers?” Helmersson replied that they are only doing what consumers want, to which Firth replied: “My children want sugar every single day, but do I give it to them? No.” The laughter resounded and a huge applause followed.

“Sugar” became the word of the day

The rest of the day, “sugar” was the word repeated over again, as equivalent with unhealthy consumption, and related to synthetics. Which means deplastification – also in the textile sector – may finally be on the agenda. To watch the whole morning session, go to this LinkedIn link. The Plastic Elephant report is easy to find here.


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

Click here to join the webinar (

Click here to sign up to attend in person (

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 (

Click here to see the recordings from the conference (

EU wants data on textile waste, and we have the answer

Text by Tone Skårdal Tobiasson

The proposal for the Waste Framework Directive, which is currently being read and analyzed by a myriad of companies, NGOs, researchers, policy-makers and interested citizens throughout Europe, handles two major consumer ‘goods’: Textiles and food. We are mainly concerned with the former, however, we have found that food offers us two good guiding principles.

The first one is to eat up what is on your plate. The second is waste audits as a means to gain meaningful knowledge on what gets “eaten up” and what doesn’t. In three separate documents, we ask the EU to heed these two guiding principles and apply them to apparel and other textiles.

One of the documents is our feedback on the textile part of the Waste Framework Directive (read the document here), where the authors have concrete recommendations for ensuring that the policy measures in the WFD can actually contribute to the EU’s ambition of putting fast fashion out of fashion. Currently, the Duration of Service is what is lacking in the available data (how long apparel has been in use and to what level the apparel and textile waste is ‘used up’ ), but even if the background document (#4) states “There is currently no sound method of estimating textile waste (collected and discarded in mixed municipal waste)”, this is just not true. And the two other papers elaborate on exactly this point. Waste audits/waste composition studies – which are very much used when gaining data on food waste – and wardrobe studies – are well-developed methods.

The document Status for developing methods for using waste as a resource for knowledge about the use phase of clothing (read the document here), offers an overview of exactly the current status for these methods, while the document USED, BUT NOT USED UP: Using textile waste to inform textile rating schemes (read the document here) explores how the data-collection methodology using waste audits can underpin several policy measures, such as the Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules, Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR), Labelling and Digital Product Passport (DPP), the Green claims directive, as well as EPR and the WFD. We have called the ongoing waste audit method for Targeted Producer Responsibility (TPR), as we originally saw it as a more effective means for levelling a EPR fee, using the Duration of Service as the measuring stick. However, we also now have realized that taking the waste as the point of departure, has many other ramifications that can be leveraged.

The cut-off point for feedback to the WFD keeps being postponed, but we encourage everyone to respond, as a functioning EPR scheme which actually takes the waste hierarchy seriously, can be reality, if we use waste audits as the basis for eco-modulating the fee. What we urgently need is for companies to add the date of production or when the product goes to market to the brand label. Then we can look both upstream, and downstream, from the time apparel and other textiles enter the different waste streams.

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.

Click here to download and read the full article.

Click here to download and read the full conference proceedings (

The plastic elephant in the room: Who dares to talk about it?

In the Consumption Research Norway SIFO report The plastic elephant: Overproduction and synthetic fibers in sustainable textile strategies we examine national, international and corporate strategies for sustainable textiles to understand whether, and if so, how they include the problem of increased production volumes based on synthetic materials that can be referred to as the ‘plastic elephant in the room’.

”It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room.” This is a quote from the 2014 GFA Fashion Summit in Copenhagen, when Livia Firth, founder of the consultancy EcoAge and the Green Carpet Challenge, was on a panel with H&M. She challenged the growth issue where “fast fashion brands justify growth by saying that it is the consumers who demand the wide selection and diversity of fashion styles today”. Firth responded to this claim made by H&M’s Helena Helmersson by saying that her children want candy all the time but that does not mean they should have it, and that as a parent she has “a responsibility in addressing this want”.

In order to find out whether different strategies take seriously the connection between overproduction and the enormous growth in the consumption of clothing and textiles, and the increase in the use of synthetic materials, we asked four questions to the strategies. First, we looked at whether the strategies discuss growth in production volumes and possible measures to stop this growth. Second, we examined whether they address the plastification of textiles. By plastification, we mean the increasing share of plastic fibres used for textile production. Third, we exmined whether they discuss the raw material for plastics, and fourth, plastic waste. The results show that none of these questions that can reduce the environmental impacts of clothing production are given a central role in the strategies. There were three types of strategies that were examined: policy, industry and NGOs’ sustainability strategies.

Important findings

The most interesting findings are related to the reduction of the use of synthetic fibres – the plastification. This is the question that receives the overall lowest scores: none of the strategies present clear, direct measures to halt plastification, though some of the public policymakers indirectly include such a goal, through goals of substituting fossil raw materials in the production with other materials, including bioplastics. Without stating how this tendency is to be reversed, the strategies raise concerns over the increasing volumes of fossil raw materials used in textile production. It is also suggested that synthetic fibres have important qualities that are needed and the strategy of substituting virgin plastics with recycled plastics is particularly present in the strategies of the industry stakeholders.

The Plastic Elephant is a part of the project Wasted Textiles, the goal of which is precisely to reduce the use of synthetic textiles and the amount that goes to waste. It is situated right at the core of the project’s goal and of course, the project is also the reason why our elephant is synthetic textiles (i.e., plastic). At the same time, we are building on work from three other ongoing projects at Consumption Research Norway (SIFO): CHANGE – about quantity, LASTING – about lifetime and REDUCE – about plastics in everyday life; and we thank our good colleagues from all the three projects for fruitful conversations as well as heated debates. We thank in particular Kirsi Laitala, Marie Hebrok, Harald Throne-Holst, Irene Maldini, Kate Fletcher and Kerli Kant Hvass for their thorough reading of the report and constructive comments.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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 (