Textile Services Association launches textiles recycling scheme

30 April 2021 by
Textile Services Association launches textiles recycling scheme

With over 30 million textile items thrown away each year, the Textile Services Association (TSA) is calling for the hospitality, catering and healthcare industries to work together to improve the recycling of textiles.

The majority of these items, such as sheets, duvet covers, pillow-cases and towels, will end up in landfill or incinerated. Any cloth that does get reused often only gets one additional use cycle, as rags in sites such as garages, before also being disposed.

The TSA has set up a project to research potential recycling solutions for the industry with Swedish company Södra, which has pioneered a method that takes textile and re-engineers it into a pulp that can be used to spin cotton fibre yarns. A test shipment was recently sent to determine how suitable it will be for use in the UK.

"We want to be part of the solution," said David Stevens, chief executive of the TSA. "So far our members have been very enthusiastic about the potential for them to help industries reducing waste and improving sustainability."

The TSA is also in talks with UKHospitality about the possibility of including staff uniforms in the scheme, which account for an additional four million items annually. Recycling uniforms is more complex as they often use a mix of different materials and accessories that require separation first. Going forward, designing uniforms for recycling is one of the solutions being discussed.

"We are delighted to be working with the TSA on their recycling project and it complements perfectly our current campaign of Net Zero Carbon by 2030," says Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality.

Stevens adds, "It's a win-win for the environment as landfill use and incineration is reduced alongside less need for new cotton. It's estimated that 20,000 litres of water are required for every kilo of cotton grown, not forgetting the risks of fertiliser run-off. Anything that reduces the impact this crop has must be good."

TagsLaundry and TSA
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