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Circularity and Used Textile Trade Project

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Between 2000 and 2015, clothing production approximately doubled while the number of times a garment is worn before being discarded decreased 36%. The result of this is an increase in textiles being discarded, with the textile sector losing an estimated $500 billion of value from these discarded textiles annually. Many of these textiles are traded to countries in the global south with limited or non-existent infrastructure to sort, refurbish or recycle traded used textiles, leading to significant environmental, economic, and social impacts. However, this trade can also provide livelihoods, strengthen economies, and contribute to transformation to a circular textile sector.  

Recognising the urgency to transition toward a sustainable and circular textile value chain, and the role that trade and trade policy can and should play to advance this; the project aims to identify key policy, financing, investment and regulatory priorities for trade and policy reforms and financing options, which enable this transformative change. Accompanying this, the project will also develop a global guideline to determine the ‘suitability to trade products as used textile’, and criteria to differentiate between used textiles and textiles waste to create economic value and promote an inclusive social development, in harmony with the environment.


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