“Textiles: Is waste really a problem?” was the question David Parker of Oakdene Hollins’ Centre for Remanufacturing & Reuse addressed at the Electrolux Professional Care Excellence Day in Luton on Wednesday 19th October.

He told the assembled industry stakeholders that between 2.5 and 2.7 million tonnes of textiles are used annually in the UK. But every year, only around 700,000 tonnes of textiles are collected for reuse, recycling or recovery.

The textiles that the Care sector uses include bedding, towels, blankets, patient gowns, staff uniforms and soft furnishings. The barriers to recycling or reusing these textiles include:

  • infection control/contamination
  • branding
  • fibre choice
  • product design and construction
  • product variety – colour combinations/patterns
  • lack of knowledge on end-of-life management.

But the solutions include improving monitoring of textiles in a care home to avoid losses, increasing the longevity of textiles, and finding disposal methods to avoid landfill or incineration - all of which Oakdene Hollins and the CRR can advise on.

The event was run by Electrolux Professional, which strengthens its commitment to demonstrating best practice in laundry care by running educational events for the Care Industry. Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, was a Keynote speaker at this event at which Oakdene Hollins raised awareness of the issue of textiles consumption and disposal and how can we help find solutions for this type of waste.