Composition and re-use potential of household bulky textiles in the UK

How many items of bulky textiles disposed of via local authority kerbside bulky waste collections and at Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) could be re-used?

This study defines bulky textiles as carpets, rugs and underlay (it excludes off-cuts or small rugs that can fit in a wheeled bin), mattresses, large ‘leisure textiles’ (such as tents and tarpaulins) and soft furnishings.

The research recorded all bulky waste by analysing call centre logs for bulky waste kerbside collections, compositional analysis of kerbside collected bulky waste for re-use potential, and surveying individuals depositing bulky items at HWRC’s.

How much could be re-used?

At HWRCs, both a visual assessment by the surveyor and the householder’s assessment of re-use potential estimated that nearly 30% of textiles are re-usable.

56% of all mattresses disposed of at HWRCs had visible fire safety labels. Over 25% of all mattresses were assessed as being very clean.

Double mattresses tended to be cleaner than all other sizes, and futon mattresses were more heavily soiled than all others.

A much lower proportion of bulky textiles collected at the kerbside were assessed as re-usable (less than 10%).The figures are for the whole of the UK in 2010/11.

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