Fibre composition of donated post-consumer clothing in theUK

Garth D. Ward, Andrew D. Hewitt, Stephen J. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


At the end of life, post-consumer clothing in the UK either enters the municipal solid waste stream or is collected by way of an extensive network of clothing banks, charity shops and doorstep collections for recycling or reuse. This study reports the fibre/polymer composition of a large sample (n 5 34 635) of post-consumer clothing collected by The Salvation Army, one of the largest used clothing supply chain operators in the UK. The results revealed that 36.2% of the clothing items were of heterogeneous polymer composition, consisting of a blend or mixture of two or more fibre components; however, the largest fraction was composed of a single fibre type (excluding accessories and sewing threads). Cotton accounted for 54.7% of the total collected clothing and 22.6% was composed of polyester. There were no large geographical or collection source variations in terms of fibre compositions. A minimum economic recyclability index was approximated based on a potential value of fibre recyclate in post-consumer clothing that is currently directed to landfill.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-37
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers: Waste and Resource Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


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