Humana has collected more than 7 tons in the first half of 2022 and avoided the emission of 43 tons of CO2. 90% of the used clothes recovered in Tossa now have a second life via reuse and recycling.
The selective collection and management of textile waste have allowed the Humana Fundación to recover more than 7 tons of used clothing in Tossa de Mar during the first half of this year, the equivalent of 28,800 pieces of clothing. 90% of these items will have a second life thanks to reuse and recycling, two key elements for the circular economy and the creation and maintenance of quality jobs (green employment). In addition, this management of textile waste has prevented the emission of 43 tons of CO2.
The non-profit organization recovered 7,107 kg from January 2022 to June 2022. Textile waste (clothing, footwear, accessories and household textiles that are no longer used) is deposited in easily accessible containers, which are emptied periodically to ensure a good service.
The 28,800 pieces of clothing recovered have been taken to the site that Humana has in Ametlla del Vallès.
Rafael Mas, Director of Projects and External Relations at Humana commented, “The first objective is always reuse because the most sustainable piece is the one that has already been manufactured and has no more costs or production impact; then, recycling; finally, when there is no other option, energy recovery or sending it to the landfill”.
“We wholeheartedly appreciate the donations from the public, however there is still a long way to go”, added Rafael Mas.
In Catalunya, the average person consumes between 21.5kg and 26kg of clothing annually, but only 12% of textile waste is selectively collected, a total of 140,000 tons/year, which then end up in landfills or are incinerated. This waste has become a global problem: in the last 15 years, the number of items sold worldwide has doubled, while their useful life has been reduced by nearly 20%.
Humana added, “The selective collection of clothes has great potential to ensure a second life: almost 60% can be reused and 32% can be recycled. That’s why it’s important to put it in a clothes container, because almost 90% of textile waste doesn’t end up in the appropriate collection point but in the trash”.
Pact for Circular Fashion and future Catalan waste law
The Pact for Circular Fashion has recently been presented. This is an agreement signed by 55 companies and entities to promote a transformation of the textile sector. Among the commitments acquired are:
- to reduce between 5% and 10% the generation of textile waste
- to reach between 25 and 30% in the selective collection of this fraction in 2024
- and to increase the percentage of material valorization of the selectively collected part. Specifically, between 55 and 60% must be allocated to preparation for reuse and, between 40 and 50%, to the recycling of textile waste.
On the other hand, the Government is working on the draft law for the prevention and management of waste and the efficient use of Catalunya’s resources, which includes specific objectives and measures for textile waste.
For the year 2025, it proposes a nationwide reduction of 10% of this waste, compared to that generated in 2019, and of 25% by 2030. To achieve this, measures are being proposed to encourage selective collection and its reuse, such as the ‘obligation to incorporate a line, or corner, of second-hand textiles in commercial areas greater than 1,200 square meters.
Environmental and social benefits
The reuse of textiles contributes to the fight against climate change. For every kg of clothing recovered (and that does not end up in a landfill to be incinerated) the emission of 6.1 kg of CO2 is avoided, according to a study by the People to People Human Federation. The more than 7 tons recovered in Tossa de Mar by Humana have avoided the emission of 43 tons of CO2.
To this environmental benefit must be added the social one: the creation of green employment. Humana generates one job for every 30 tons of textiles collected. In addition, the resources obtained are mainly allocated to the development programs that Humana carries out in other countries with counterparts or local partners. These are projects focused on the training of primary school teachers, the promotion of sustainable agriculture or the fight against HIV/AIDS, among others.
The destination of used clothes
The main destination of the clothes deposited in the containers is the preparation plant for reuse that Humana has in Ametlla del Vallès and a small amount is sold to reuse and recycling companies. The destination of the treated parts is:
- 59% is destined for reuse: 17% through Humana’s sustainable fashion stores and 42% is exported, mainly in Africa to commercialize it, make clothing accessible to less developed countries and generate resources for development cooperation.
- 32% is in a state that does not allow its reuse and is sold to recycling companies to make other products (blankets, insulators or cloths for the automotive industry).
- 2% is improper waste (plastics, cardboard, others) that is put in the hands of corresponding authorized managers.
- 1% is waste destined for energy recovery.
- 6% cannot be reused or recycled or recovered as energy and is sent to a waste treatment centre for final disposal.
About Humana Fundación Pueblo para Pueblo
Humana Fundación Pueblo para Pueblo has been promoting environmental protection through the reuse of textiles since 1987 and carries out cooperation programs in Africa, Latin America and Asia as well as local aid and urban agriculture in the nearest territory.
Its head office is in Ametlla del Vallès and it has branches in Madrid, Andalucia, Asturias, the Valencian Community and Galicia.
The entity generates one permanent full-time job for every 30,000 kg of textiles collected. It is part of the following organisations: Asociación Española de Fundaciones, Federación Española de la Recuperación y el Reciclaje, Coordinadora Catalana de Fundacions, l’Associació de Moda Sostenible de Barcelona and Federació Humana People to People. It is also a signatory of the Pact for Circular Fashion.
Tossa de Mar is a picturesque municipality in Catalonia, Northern Spain, located on the Costa Brava. It is approximately halfway between Barcelona and the border with France.