LWARB awards funds for textile recycling

The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) has awarded a total of £185,000 to six recycling organisations to increase the reuse and recycling of textiles in the capital.

Forming part of LWARB’s £400,000 ‘Textile Reuse and Recycling Fund’ – which aims to ‘create solutions to increase the reuse and recycling of textiles’ in London – grants of between £8,300 and £55,000 have been awarded to a range of projects to limit the amount of textile waste (such as clothing and carpet) sent to landfill.

The six organisations (and the projects) that will receive the funding are:

  • WRAP: To develop a London resource for behaviour change communications for clothing and non-clothing, as part of WRAP’s national Love Your Clothes campaign;
  • Lawrence M Barry (textile collector and reprocessor): To provide a kerbside clothing recycling service for some London residents;
  • Wastebuster (community interest companyrunning environmental education programmes): To implement a corporate textile recycling and rewards scheme and develop a volunteer programme for delivery of textiles education in schools;
  • Textile Recycling Association (trade association): To evaluate clothing theft from bring sites and kerbside collections, investigate the impact of bogus charity collections in London, and identify measures that textile collectors could take to ‘minimise their losses and maximise collection rates’;
  • Carpet Recycling UK (trade association): To explore and develop carpet recycling from household waste recycling centres and bulky waste collections; and
  • London Community Resource Network (social enterprise charity): To work with local social enterprises to establish a carpet tile reuse operation in London.

It is estimated that these six projects will divert in the region of 3,500 tonnes of end-of-life textiles from landfill or incineration over the next 12 months.

The funding comes at an opportune time, as yesterday (19 February), the Director of the Textile Recycling Association, Alan Wheeler, told Resource that 2014 is already proving to be ‘extremely difficult’ for those engaged in used clothing and textile collections, with many ‘clinging on to (and continuing to eat into) their capital reserves’.

Further, the grant comes at a critical time for WRAP, as it recently announced it is looking at ‘diversifying’ its funding base and pursue a bid for charitable status, following increasing cuts from central government.

Speaking of the funds, LWARB Efficiencies Committee Chair and Board Member Clyde Loakes said: “Around 200,000 tonnes of textiles currently go to landfill in London every year and the projects funded so far will help provide new and innovative solutions to reduce that amount. 

“As well as reducing the burden on the capital’s landfill sites, increasing textile reuse and recycling will also help to grow London’s economy by creating jobs and volunteering/training opportunities and have a positive monetary impact on the public purse.”

LWARB launched the Textile Reuse and Recycling Fund for members of the London Textile Forum last year. A further £215,000 is still available with a deadline for expressions of interest of 7 March 2014.

Earlier this month, the body awarded £1.2 million in grants to 17 London boroughs to improve recycling collection infrastructure in the capital.

Find out more about LWARB’s Textile Reuse and Recycling Fund.