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ACT UK

At the heart of textiles circularity

Every year, the UK generates over 1 million tonnes of used textiles. Estimates suggest that a third of these are non-rewearable textiles (NRT) which are currently being lost to landfill/incineration or are being exported in regions with lower labour costs. This is where the Automatic-sorting for Circularity in Textiles (ACT UK) project comes in by filling the critical gap of transitioning from exporting and manual sorting of NRTs to automated sorting.

ACT UK is a two-year project supported with funding from Innovate UK and led by UK Fashion and Textile association (UKFT). The project brings together a consortium of recycling technologies, textile collectors/sorters, academia, manufacturers, industry associations, technologists and brands/retailers. It is part of a broader Circular Fashion Programme supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The aim of the project is to establish the blueprint for an innovative Advanced Textile Sorting and Pre-processing facility (ATSP), which would take in non-rewearable textiles and deliver this as feedstock for fibre-to-fibre recyclers. This will prepare the UK market for transition to textiles circularity.

Project Key Outcomes

  • By 2025, create a world class state-of-the-art blueprint for an ATSP, integrating the latest technologies.
  • Provide the economic incentivisation of regional material recycling over export of NRT in lower cost labour regions or to landfill/incineration.
  • Leverage the consortium roles, knowledge and innovation to drive the transition from linear to circular textiles in the UK.
  • Cement the UK’s global leadership in innovation and textiles circularity, creating new markets, jobs and foreign direct investment opportunities.

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Project Areas

ACT UK focuses on three key project areas: post-consumer textiles collection and logistics, state-of-the-art technology development, and the circular textiles ecosystem. 

Industry Engagements and Events

Since the project’s inception in September 2023, the consortium has actively participated in pivotal events centered around textile recycling innovation. During these engagements, we had the pleasure of connecting with many of the players within the industry. We have just started, stay tuned for more.

ACT UK Industry Engagements

INDUSTRY ENGAGEMENTS

Strategic Board

  • Adam Mansell – CEO, UKFT (Project Lead)
  • Anthony Croall – Group Commercial Director, Camira
  • Beatrice Elliott – Retail & Sustainability – Senior Managing Consultant, IBM Consulting UK 
  • Cristina Sabaiduc Senior Sector Specialist– Sustainable Textiles, WRAP 
  • Edward Gillespie – Head of New Partnerships, Oxfam
  • Joe Little – Head of Technical: Raw Materials & Colour, Packaging and Sustainability, Tesco
  • Katharine Beacham – Head of Materials and Sustainability, M&S
  • Shan Dulanty – Sector Chief Engineer, MTC
  • Sue Fairley – Head of Sustainability, New Look

News and Opportunities

Opportunities

Roundtables to Discuss Improvements in the Textile collection System 

ACT UK is organising roundtables to bring together retailers, textile sorters, collectors, waste management organisations and council members to brainstorm ideas and discuss improvements to the current textiles collection system.

Date: 20 June 2024

Register by emailing hannah.carter@reskinned.clothing. Please note all registrations will be reviewed, and accepted applicants will be notified by the team.

News

CWB Magazine on ACT UK

M&S calls on the nation to give their pre-loved clothing a second life with trial of free postal donation service

New life for Ruined and Worn out Textiles for Tesco and   The Salvation Army - regional donations trial

TOMRA Textiles and Circle-8 to explore solutions for a UK circular textile ecosystem

Get Involved

If you are a customer looking to donate clothing, including items that are non-rewearable, visit www.acttakeback.org

If you are a brand, retailer, recycler of textile/garment manufacturer interested in being part of the ACT UK journey, email sustainability@ukft.org 

Sign up to ACT UK newsletter below for quarterly updates on project progress.

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Have questions or need more information? Drop us an email at sustainability@ukft.org, and our team will be happy to assist you.