Textile Exports – Fate, Benefits and Impact

The Nordic Council of Ministers’ Green Growth Initiative highlighted the need for comprehensive collection, reuse and recycling of used textiles as part of a growing circular economy.

A major study in close cooperation with the 13 largest exporters of used textiles estimated the socio-economic and environmental impacts arising from their subsequent treatment. The key findings of the Nordic Council of Ministers Report are essential reading, and point to a strong net environmental benefit, support for thousands of jobs as an important vehicle for poverty reduction, savings in carbon emissions and water, and a realisation that if imports were restricted the gap would likely be filled by increasing imports of cheap new clothing from Asia, not by resurgence in local production.

In Australia, the Charitable Impact Study shows that textile exports for reuse:

  • Generate $50 million for charity towards social welfare programs locally
  • Extend the life of 100,000 tonnes of wearable garments
  • Support commercial recycling and job creation domestically
  • Serve overseas consumers with low incomes that need quality clothing
  • Support livelihoods and poverty reduction overseas