Funder: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Green Enterprise Innovation for a Circular Economy 2020 Funding Call 

Duration of Project: 10/05/2021 – 31/10/2022 (15 Months)

Lead on Project: Community Resource Network Ireland (CRNI).

Other Partners: The Rediscovery Centre, Charity Retail Ireland and the Clean Technology Centre (CTC) at Munster Technological University (MTU). 

Status: Complete


Recent research in Ireland has shown that in total 110,000 tonnes of post consumer textiles are collected in recycling or residual waste bins annually, of which 64,000 tonnes is collected from households. An additional 40,000 tonnes of textiles is collected per year by commercial textile recyclers and 17,500 tonnes of textiles by charity retailers.

Based on the quantities currently disposed annually, the introduction of further separate collections could see a significant volume of textiles collected and require further processing. However, there was considerable uncertainty around the capacity of the market to handle additional volumes and the quality and quantities expected through further separate collection.

Objectives of Project:

The overarching aim of this project was to identify potentially suitable additional separate collection systems, the quality and quantities of textiles these might yield and to identify solutions for dealing with increased quantities of post-consumer textiles. This involved:

  •   Reviewing the range of potential options for the separate collection of post-consumer textiles.
  •   Selecting and piloting different separate textile collection systems in specific localities and measuring the qualities and quantities of textiles collected.
  •   Modelling the results at a national level to inform the effective design of a full scale separate textile collection system.
  •   Identifying potential business solutions and opportunities in relation to the recirculation of used textiles.
  •   Identifying specific recommendations for national policy makers.


Project Outputs:

The Circular Textiles project delivered a pilot testing the impact of two separate collection systems for used textiles on the Irish market, including kerbside/ door-to-door collections, event-based collections – against one “communications-only” pilot area. These three pilots, Donate Don’t Waste, took place in Arklow Co Wicklow, Buncrana Co Donegal and Charleville Co Cork.

Overall the project found strong indications that Ireland is unprepared to meet the requirements for a separate collection system; that separate collection of textiles is very resource intensive; that the sector does not have the infrastructure, capacity or resources to expand its role in collecting textiles or associated qualitative or quantitative data; existing public data on post-consumer textiles is limited; the post-consumer textile sector is currently underdeveloped with the activities of different stakeholders relatively fragmented and siloed and there was a strong support, based on stakeholder engagement, for public communications that emphasised simplicity and post-collection sorting of textiles into different quality streams.

For a full outline of the project findings please see the public webinar here.

Community Resource Network Ireland (CRNI)
Charity Retail Ireland
Clean Technology Centre (CTC)