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Recycling contaminated textiles economically not viable
16
Oct '12
The recycling processes of contaminated textiles, extracted from landfills and co-mingled kerbside collections, are not environmentally and economically viable, according to two UK recycling firms, I & G Cohen Limited and Axion Consulting, who are the major contributors of WRAP, the UK Government-funded Waste & Resources Action Programme.
 
The Manchester-based firms said the textiles taken out from landfills are first sent to a Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), where they are processed through a trommel screen and then separated, baled and finally sent for recycling. This sorting process causes the highest levels of wastage which harms the environment.
 
The companies further explained that though it was possible to recover around 75 percent of clothing from these collections for re-use, the usage of £700,000 equipment in laundering of these contaminated textiles is not economically very viable. 
 
In a report titled ‘Impact of Textile Feedstock Source on Value’, the firms stated that collecting textiles via established cleaner routes like door to door, kerbside, textile bank and charity shop collections, are way better to maximise the recycling and re-use benefits. They averred that nearly eighty percent of the total donated textile items collected via these popular conventional routes can be successfully re-used or recycled.
 
Established in 2000, WRAP works in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to help businesses, local authorities, communities and individuals reap the benefits of reducing waste, developing sustainable products and using resources in an efficient way.
 
Started in 1959, I&G Cohen Limited provides an all-inclusive range of nationwide textile collection and recycling services for the waste management sector, local authorities and charities, including kerbside and textile bank collections. 
 
Axion Consulting develops and operates innovative processing solutions for recycling waste materials. 
 

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