The circular economy calls for a coordinated redesign of production and consumption patterns, ensuring that cascading material and product resource use continues for as long as possible. Moving away from the 'take, make, use and dispose' paradigm, the circular economy aims to extract the maximum value and utility from resources and products, encouraging principles such as zero-waste design, product-life extension and resource recovery, as well as repair and remanufacture services. Beyond waste reduction and recycling, a more circular textile sector needs to involve industrial, commercial and policy-making communities; spurring new forms of collaborations between and across traditionally linear value chains. Indeed, whilst technology innovation is crucial, with the search for new and improved ways to sort, separate, decontaminate and recycle textile fibres, the importance of process and business innovations must not be overlooked. This paper looks at the Horizon 2020 funded research project Resyntex, which strives to implement a circular redesign in the textiles sector. Within Resyntex, the authors have conducted stakeholder consultations in four geographically distinct regions throughout Europe, which utilise different approaches to the collection of textile waste, sourced from consumers, industry and institutions. The consultations took place in participatory, multi-stakeholder focus groups, whereby careful attention was paid to ensuring a balanced participation, bringing in diverse viewpoints and experiences and overcoming issues around competition and commercial sensitivity. Examining textile waste routes and their corresponding mosaic of collectors, sorters and recyclers, this paper identifies the key drivers and opportunities for textile waste collectors for a transition to more circular value chains. Through stakeholder engagement, the research proposes how conditions for collectors' adoption of circular practices can be improved, while avoiding sectoral disruption and ensuring maximum effectiveness of the redesigned chain of secondary textiles.
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