New funding from Defra's Resource Action Fund to help organisations tackle the UK's textile waste mountain
Waste advisory body WRAP has this week launched a new £1.5m grant fund to support projects that provide innovative ways for textile waste to be recycled or re-used, keeping it out of landfill or incineration so that it remains a valuable resource.
The cash, which is part of Defra's £18m Resource Action Fund, will enable grants of between £20,000 and £170,000 for both commercial and not-for-profit organisations.
The funding is designed to support capital expenditure only, helping organisations invest in equipment or technologies, excluding software and apps, that enable recycling or re-use of clothing or linen waste textiles.
Under the rules of the fund each project will require match funding, with not-for-profits required to cover 10 per cent of costs and businesses at least 50 per cent.
Successful projects will need to demonstrate "innovation beyond normal practice" and will be assessed against a number of criteria, WRAP said.
The new funding is designed to help tackle a shortage of textile collection and recycling capacity, which is widely regarded as a major barrier to delivering on the government's Resource and Waste Strategy (R&WS) and Circular Economy Package (CEP) objectives.
"Existing markets for recycled textiles are small scale and traditional, with little innovation or growth potential," WRAP said. "To meet the requirement for separate collections of textiles by 2025, new processes and markets need to be found, to avoid separately collected items simply being discarded."
Peter Maddox, Director of WRAP UK, said the organisation was "looking for really imaginative solutions to the barriers to textile recycling and re-use, such as new technologies, interventions or equipment that hasn't been tried and tested before".
"We have had a tremendous response to previous Resource Action Fund grant funding offers, and I confidently expect a similar level of quality applications for this offer," he added.
The move was also welcomed by Environment Minister Rebecca Pow who predicted it could help tackle some of the "real impacts" that come from the fast fashion sector.
"With more than 300,000 tonnes of clothing being sent to landfill or incineration every year, it's important that we find ways to make the textiles sector more sustainable and environmentally friendly," she said. "I look forward to seeing the innovative solutions that are awarded funding under this new grant scheme."
Interested applicants can find more information and download an application form through WRAP's website.
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