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Building inclusive and circular waste value chain in India.

India is the fifth largest textile and apparel production country and the largest cotton textile producer in the world.

The sector faces many environmental, social and economic challenges. Each year, an estimated 7793 kilos of textile-cutting waste is created in the production process, of which 60% is cotton. In India, local waste collection and distribution are highly informal and fragmented, often lacking proper waste management and resource recovery. This means that a large share of textile waste will be sent to landfills and/or incinerated, leading to soil pollution and toxic gas emissions. While there is a lot of textile waste in India, the potential for textile recycling cannot be realised due to the lack of proper technology (for sorting and separating blended fibres from chemicals) and a professional value chain to deal with this waste. This results in the potential value of a large amount of textile waste not capitalised.

Vulnerable groups of society are being affected by poor working conditions and are often paid below minimum wage. Women in this sector are particularly vulnerable, forced to work extremely long hours due to the low pay.

Against this background, Concordia Textiles, GIZ and Enviu have joined forces to demonstrate and replicate a scalable and inclusive value chain of textile waste in India. In doing so, we have developed two knowledge products.

Influencing the Indian Textile Sector

In collaboration with PwC, we have developed a ReUse Guide, an open-source knowledge product developed to enable increased use of textile waste by both formal and informal enterprises. The guide provides a comprehensive overview of various categories of textile waste generated across the textile and apparel sector value chain and the prevailing practices towards managing this waste.

REUSE GUIDE  Download ↓

Putting Waste to Work

In partnership with Saahas Zero Waste, we have produced a Textile Waste Management Methodology (TWMM). This low-tech, simple, easy-to-follow methodology will be shared with the (informal) waste management sector. The TWMM can improve the business case of informal waste workers and can be adapted/translated to support the personnel of the textile industry, solution providers and individual waste pickers. This methodology is applicable for collecting and sorting various kinds of textile waste, specifically post-production (waste created in the production of garments) and post-consumer waste (worn garments).