Life cycle assessment for reuse/recycling of donated waste textiles compared to use of virgin material: An UK energy saving perspective

Posted by jimenavillegasg
Type: 
Full LCA available on the web
Comparative: 
yes
Publication year: 
2005
Language: 
English
Code: 
Clothing/Textile
Product: 
Donated waste textile
Quality and sources
Is the study a: 
Quick LCA
Was a critical review performed?: 
Yes
Is the study compliant with ISO 14044?: 
No
Sponsor type: 
Other
Practitioner(s): 
Anne C. Woolridge. School of Health, University College Northampton, Northampton NN2 7 AL, UK
Practitioner(s): 
Garth D. Ward. Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd.
Practitioner(s): 
Paul S. Phillips. School of Health, University College Northampton, Northampton NN2 7 AL, UK
Practitioner(s): 
Michael Collins. Environmental Research Management, Oxford OX2 0QS, UK
Practitioner(s): 
Simon Gandy. Environmental Research Management, Oxford OX2 0QS, UK
Practitioner(s) type: 
Consultant
Practitioner(s) type: 
Institut/Technical research center
Practitioner(s) type: 
University
Summary
Functional unit: 
Annual recycled tonnes and 1 tonne of recycled clothing

The goal of this study is to determine whether the recycling of clothes, shoes and textiles actually results in a net energy benefit. The study is carried out with quantities from material recycled between years 2000/2001.

The system boundaries are clearly determined in the study. The LCA includes the following phases:
-Extraction of resources
-Manufacture of materials, including fuels and chemicals consumed
-Electricity generation
-Clothing collection
-Clothing processing
-Clothing distribution
-Disposal of wastes.
Although it excludes:
-Capital equipment
-All post re-sale life cycle stages
-Maintenance of buildings or equipment

In excess of 1 million tonnes of clothing are disposed of in the domestic waste stream each year, however an increasing quantity is being collected for potential reuse or reprocessing. This investigation quantified the energy burden associated with the processing and transportation of these items by Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd (SATCOL). All the processes, including the energy burden associated with retailing and distribution and the donations have been shown to be insignificant compared with the energy consumed during the manufacture of these items from virgin materials. The reuse of 1 tonne of polyester garments only uses 1.8% of the energy required for manufacture of these goods from virgin materials and the reuse of 1 tonne of cotton clothing only uses 2.6% of the energy required to manufacture those from virgin materials.

Usage impact(s): 
Waste generation
Usage impact level: 
Medium
End of life impact(s): 
Waste generation
End of life impact level: 
Medium

I found this article about a

I found this article about a comparison between recycled textiles and virgin material textiles based on energy used during the different life cycles. I think it would contribute to the various studies on textiles that have been posted here.


Jimena Villegas

Thank you for this study. It

Thank you for this study. It content very interessting and valuable results!


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