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We estimate that out of the total discarded textiles, 40% is collected. The remaining clothing, amounting to close to 1,7 million tonnes per year, is incinerated.
In 2020, each person in the EU consumed on average 14,8 kg of textile. This included 6 kg of clothing, 6,1 kg of household textiles (such as carpets or curtains) and 2,7 kg of shoes. Unfortunately, discarded textiles in Europe are becoming an increasing waste problem in Europe and beyond. EU exports of used textiles have tripled in the last two decades and only a small proportion of used textiles is granted a second life.
We estimate that out of the total discarded textiles, 40% is collected. Of this, 10% is resold in the country, 10% is resold in another European country and the rest is exported mainly to Africa and Asia. The remaining clothing, amounting to close to 1,7 million tonnes per year, is incinerated. Find out more in our briefing entitled Europe's used textiles are an increasing waste and export problem or listen to our interview with our experts: AskAnExpert.