Innovative approach that makes textile collecting possible in Eastern European countries
The system for textile collection by using containers on the streets failed in Eastern European countries. A different model for Bulgaria has been already running successfully for 2 years .
- The first important difference is that the collecting containers are placed not on the streets, but only in premium urban locations in cooperation with big supermarkets, shopping malls, schools, hospitals, residential and business complexes and others.
- Second, the selected areas are also protected either by video cameras or fences, live guards, big traffic and others.
- Furthermore a very appealing design for the collecting containers is developed, produced locally, in order to match aesthetic to the premium looking locations.
- A campaign is also implemented for increasing the awareness and popularization of the environmental, social and economic benefits of the separate textile collecting and the circular economy in the media as well as by participating on public and school events including also fun elements like mascot animators for making the idea more sympathetic.
The last but not least component, that is important for the success, is the donation. For every collected kg, funds are donated to the Bulgarian Red Cross and build a crisis reserve of clothes. This is a huge additional motivational factor for the people to participate and to provide their textiles to the containers.

Resources needed

500000 € for ca. 1000 textile collecting containers for covering the 10 biggest cities in Bulgaria for 3 years.
150000 € for the initial leasing fee for ca. 30 collecting vehicles for 3 years
50000 € for the initial leasing fee for ca. 10 fork lifts
100000 € working capital for storing textiles

Evidence of success

The amount of the collected textiles is larger than in other EU countries.
- The donation culture and culture for separate collecting of textile are high
- The stealing events from the containers and the damages are reduced to incidental cases
- The sustainability and efficiency of the textile collecting depends but not only from the quality of the collected textile mix as well as the possibilities for realization of the collected textile for reuse or recycling.

Difficulties encountered

1.The resources for expansion with 1000 containers are limited
2.The realisation opportunities of the collected textile not suitable for reuse are small in Bulgaria.
3.Unlike in other EU countries there is no product tax fund in Bulgaria for supporting financially the separate textile collection.

Potential for learning or transfer

Despite that similar practices are existing in many of the Western European countries, in Eastern Europe countries is very rare to see such complex organizational scheme for textile collection. The specific obstacles for the implementation of these schemes can be overcome by smart and innovative approaches, appropriate informational and awareness campaigns and perseverance. All lessons learned from that practice can be transferred and used in other countries - not only in countries that are lacking similar collection schemas, but also some elements might be in benefit for every practitioners in waste textile collection and recycling, second hand usage and exchange of knowledge in that sector.

Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.

Main institution
Bulgarian Association of Municipal Environmental Experts
Южен централен, Bulgaria (България)
Start Date
March 2016
End Date


Please login to contact the author.

Good Practices being followed by

Nikolay Sidjimov

Bulgarian Association of Municipal Environmental Experts