Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto Oy established a store for used textiles. Aim is to extend the textile life cycle and encourage reuse
A waste management company is unable to directly impact in reducing waste, but it can advance reuse and product-life extension. When the post-consumer textile store (Texvex) run by unemployment association of Turku was ended, Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto (LSJH) still wanted to give the consumers a chance to acquire these textiles. LSJH established a store for used textiles of their own. It's not ideal situation, but there were no other actors interested at that point. However, the store is located in close proximity to the post-consumer textile sorting premises in order to avoid unnecessary transport, and unsold textiles can be taken directly to material recycling.
In practice, the load of post-consumer textiles is sorted so that everything unusable in the collection is removed. Recyclable material and reusable textiles are separated. In the store, the reusable textiles are re-sorted: which ones are fit to be sold in store right away and which ones will stay and wait for later. The textiles are sold per kilo.
This solution benefits
1) Service provider (LSJH): lengthening the life-cycle of textiles and getting more value out of them
2) end users looking for textiles, such as private people, artisans, schools, day cares, theaters, events and animal shelters.
LSJH is a waste management company owned by 17 municipalities in the Southwest Finland region, organising the resident's waste management and waste disposal advice.
Costs consist of salaries, marketing and the facility.
The store is open three times a week and during its opening hours, it requires one full-time employee. Additional employee is needed for handling the material flow and sorting textiles. The current store is 120 m2 + lot of storage.
Evidence of success
LSJH learned on the previous projects and pilots that the consumers generally see collecting and providing textiles for reuse as a good practice.
During the first month, more than 1000 kg of textiles has been sold and now dozens of customers visit the store every time it's open.
When people find treasures in the waste, they will reconsider the whole concept of waste for themselves. This will eventually lead to changes in consumer behaviour.
- Lack of space
- The sorting employees must be educated and motivated
- Post-consumer textile issue seems to be confusing for consumers
- Informing people that the practice and selling of used textiles continues
Potential for learning or transfer
The model is duplicable, which also is the national objective: the goal is to have all post-consumer textiles to remain in reuse in the region where it has been collected, while only the recycled material will travel on to the refinery plants.
This practice is not financially viable, nor does it generate losses. What makes it valuable is that this model can reach and find people who are willing and/or need to find different kinds and amounts of used textiles. Post-consumer textiles are a heterogeneous mass, of which treasures can be found. The store enables this, and it is useful to have an instance collecting and selling anything that can be needed in large amounts. This also increases the appreciation of textile as a material.