Textiles take-back schemes, where customers donate unwanted clothing to retailers to be re-used or recycled, are a key part of developing a more circular fashion industry.

In addition to providing clothing brands and retailers with the opportunity to engage with their customers about sustainable practices, take-back schemes can also demonstrate corporate responsibility, increase brand loyalty, and help your business transition to circularity in clothing and textiles if they are applied responsibly and transparently.

What’s in this guide?

  • We examine the take back options available to businesses, sharing several industry examples and learnings to date.
  • It’s designed to help retailers, brands and their re-use/recycling partners either set up from scratch, or improve on, a take-back scheme.
  • It outlines the different elements of a take-back scheme, including consumer insights and messaging, analysis of different scheme types, and communications and operational considerations, including the importance of transparency and traceability.
Hear from some of the leading businesses implementing take-back initiatives including; H&M, Tesco F&F, M&S, Oxfam, Ikea and Zara with featured case studies from different types of take-back schemes.

Learn about commercial partnerships, charity partnerships, own-brand product take-back, online re-use and recycling apps and retail / landlord led initiatives.

Why it matters?  

Providing re-use or resale opportunities at the places where most new sales take place can make it easy for customers to extend the life of their own unwanted garments.

(WRAP, 2017, Valuing our Clothes: the cost of UK fashion)

Annually it’s estimated that 921,000 tonnes of used textiles ends up in the household residual waste in the UK. Take-back initiative are one of the mechanisms that retailers can use to engage their customers in circularity and will be key to scaling up circular models including resale and fibre-to-fibre recycling.

But to enable this to happen, we need to see a significant increase in the amount of unwanted clothing collected rather than disposed of in our bins, and an increased focus on the transparency and traceability of the end routes for collected clothing.

Read more about our research into clothing and behavioural insights during covid-19 restrictions here.

Textiles 2030

Textiles 2030

Our new initiative for the clothing and textiles industry. Discover how you can take a targeted, evidence based approach on circularity, keeping your products and materials in circulation for as long as possible.

Find out more

Circularity in clothing and textiles

As well as reducing the aggregate GHG footprint of products in line with the 1.5oC target of the Paris Agreement on climate change and reducing the aggregate water footprint of new products by 30%, we are also targeting circularity. Through collaboration we will create and deliver a UK-wide Roadmap for Circular Textiles.

Find out more about the Textiles 2030 targets

Our Roadmap ambitions for circular textiles: 

Each signatory business will implement Roadmap actions towards the following Ambitions, which will help reduce waste and achieve the climate target:

- All products are designed and made to be circular (durable, recyclable and designing out waste). 

- More circular raw material is in new products than linear raw material. 

- More products are sold for reuse in the UK than new.

*Target definitions and values are subject to final agreement. Signatories will collaborate to agree milestones, metrics and targets to deliver the Circularity Ambitions and Roadmap, and work with Governments and other stakeholders.

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