What is Textile Waste?
Whilst ‘tyre waste’ is fairly self-explanatory – a tyre that is worn down and no longer fit for purpose – ‘textile waste’ has a much broader definition. Textile waste doesn’t just refer to clothing waste, but to all the waste generated during the production of said clothes too: the spinning, the dyeing, the weaving etc.
This why the clothes in landfill are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the UK’s textile waste conundrum. Some of the chemicals used in dyeing the fabrics end up polluting our waters and dangerous offshoot solvent gasses (like ammonia for example) are regularly released into the air by clothing factories, and the amount of fuel (likely of the fossil variety) needed to run these factories is significant!
Whilst, for the finished clothes, landfill may not be the only option once the wearer has got bored of or outgrown their clothing, there’s so much more that goes into producing a single item of clothing than most may realise. However, how about tyres? Although we may know what tyre waste is, are tyres hazardous waste too?
Should We Be Concerned About Tyre Waste?
Unfortunately, tyre waste is indeed something to be concerned about. Tyres aren’t capable of decomposing and, as such, will remain in a landfill forever in some form or another.
We say ‘some form or another’ because whilst the raw materials that make up tyres don’t decompose, they do break off, with synthetic rubber (plastic) finding its way into our rivers and streams and polluting our waters, having a detrimental effect on the aquatic ecosystem.
As tyres begin to wear away, they also begin to release Methane into the air – a greenhouse gas and one of the bigger ‘drivers’ of climate change.
How Much Tyre Waste & How Much Textile Waste is Produced Each Year?
According to a study conducted by LABFRESH in 2020, it is estimated that the UK produces 3.1kg-worth of textile waste every year – the 4th largest producer of textile waste in Europe. It is astounding figures like these that have driven movements like the momentum-gathering Textile Sustainability movement. People have become more and more aware about the dangers of fast fashion.
Tyres are another product that many find difficult to recycle, with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimating that the UK throws away 55 million tyres a year. A lot of the time people just don’t know where to recycle tyres in the first place.
How Much Textile Recycling Can I Do?
The best way to reduce textile waste is to reduce the rate of production of new textiles. This means increasing the time between wardrobe updates and taking your clothes to charity shops rather than throwing them away altogether. This will not only reduce the old clothes in landfill but will also reduce the demand for new clothing which will, over time, reduce the supply of new clothing too. However, even if your clothes are tattered and have seen better days, there are still ways to recycle them.
How are Clothes Recycled?
At our Material Recovery Facilities, we focus on finding recyclable solutions for all types of processed waste, with your old clothing being turned into everything from furniture padding to mattress filling.
If you have old clothes you want to recycle, please feel free to contact our Material Recovery Facility team who will be more than happy to help you out.
Is recycling car tyres also possible?
You will be pleased to know that at our Material Recovery Facilities, we also know how to recycle tyres!
Recycling tyres involves shredding and granulating the rubber in them until they are nothing more than crumbs. These crumbs can then be used to make things like paving but can also be used to retread other tyres that are past their prime.
We are specialists when it comes recycling car tyres so, if you have tyres that you can’t use anymore but you don’t want to send them to a landfill, please give us a call and our team will be more than happy to advise you on how we can help.