Circular Economy Perspectives in the EU Textile sector

The report improves the understanding of current value chains in the manufacturing and retailing of apparel products in the EU and provides a detailed picture of material flows in the EU textile sector in a global context. This includes an overview of the size of the textile processing industry in the EU in terms of turnover, employment, number and size of companies, and the EU's share of the global industry.

This study also provides information on current industrial practice in the EU for the collection, sorting and preparation of post-consumer textiles for reuse and recycling. Both currently installed and emerging technologies for the recycling of textile fabrics and apparel are mapped in order to provide a snapshot of the state of the art of available technologies that are expected to cope with the increased amount of textile waste towards 2025.

The study concludes with an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of the textiles production and consumption system in two scenarios:

  1. the prevalence of a linear economy model and
  2. a projected circular economy scenario.

On this basis, the opportunities for and threats to the current textile sector, including the post-consumer textile collection, sorting, reuse and recycling industries, are examined in their entirety. Existing and emerging circular economy models are analysed in the same way.


Köhler, A., Watson, D., Trzepacz, S., Löw, C., Liu, R., Danneck, J., Konstantas, A., Donatello, S. and Faraca, G.,
Circular Economy Perspectives in the EU Textile sector
Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2021, ISBN 978-92-76-38646-9, doi:10.2760/858144, JRC125110.

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