SECTOR WATCH

Circulus Berkel’s approach to the recycling of textiles

 

Established in 2014, Circulus-Berkel is an association of 8 municipalities, which serves eight municipalities with around 440,000 inhabitants in the management of waste and resources and the management of public spaces.


Their mission is “A waste free society, a clean environment, a society concerned. In this way we add value to the region."


The main areas where the organisation works are the following:

 

  • Environment: reduce waste and improve the use of raw materials
  • Social activation: by increasing working opportunities
  • Improved citizen participation to achieve better results and provide a more satisfying service.

 

Main triggers to start the procurement and goals pursued

 

Textiles represent a huge environmental burden for society, derived mostly from the use of toxic and hazardous substances in the production process for textiles and the generation of greenhouse gas emissions derived from the production of textiles. Furthermore, clothes and textiles which still are in good condition are thrown away together with the residual waste and end up in landfills.
In the Netherlands only 30% of used textiles are separately collected, 30% end up in the residual waste and 30% can currently not be traced.


There are currently many ongoing initiatives that seek collecting used textiles and giving them a second life; initiatives that have been started by social companies and NGOs mostly at local level.
In our region, we introduced in 2016 the “BEST tas” (BEST-bag), a resistant bag made of recycled plastic that aims to collect items such as books, small electric appliances, toys and textiles, items that otherwise end up in the residual waste stream. The bags are picked up at home a number of days a year. In the past year, we managed to collect 60,000 BEST bags in our region, diverting over 420,000 kilos of used items from the landfills. 


The introduction of the BEST bag has resulted in an increased 8% in the separated collection of textiles and 11% for small and medium-sized electric and electronic appliances.
The total number of separated collected textiles has grown to 1900 tons in the regions.

 

Our current goals are:

 

  • To achieve better transparency in the reuse of textiles and the recycling chain. At the moment as it is the case of many other regions, a big part of the collected textiles are being exported to other countries, without sufficient transparency on the process and the consequences
  • Create (social) jobs within the region
  • Increase our re-use and recycling quotes and reduce the amount of residual waste.
  • For the non-reusable textiles, we are currently looking into new techniques for mechanical or chemical recycling.


Approach to the procurement process & time schedule

 

Currently we are in the middle of the preparation of an EU market dialogue for the creation of a textile sorting plant for about 1900 tons of textiles from our household, which will take place between the months of May and June.


Our aim is to start it on January 1st 2018.


We expect to create about 40 new jobs in our region with the new sorting plant.

 

Related information

 

Information to the BEST bag approach (in Dutch) http://www.waardemagazine.nl/#/artikel/best-tas-houdt-grondstoffen-uit-het-restafval

Circulus Berkel main website: https://www.circulus-berkel.nl/



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