Our high consumption of textiles continues to increase. How to handle used textiles and textile waste is a major societal challenge


The Ministry of Climate and Environment has established a working group led by Virke, with participation from various organizations, to develop extended producer responsibility for textiles. To support the mandate of the working group, NORSUS AS and NORION Consult have conducted a mapping of the quantity of textiles in the Norwegian market and their fate as waste. The report also draws on the synthesis report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which calls for increased ambition and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero.

The textile industry faces significant needs for change, as textiles are one of the sectors with the highest resource consumption and environmental impact. The majority of resource consumption and impact related to clothing, footwear, and household textiles in Europe occurs in other parts of the world where production takes place. This entails a responsibility to be mindful of our own consumption.

The European Commission has presented a strategy for sustainable and circular textiles, and Norway has the opportunity to follow up on this. The strategy includes several measures, including requirements for eco-design, limitation of microplastic emissions, information requirements and digital product passports, measures against greenwashing, and the introduction of extended producer responsibility. Extended producer responsibility will contribute to financing systems for the collection and treatment of textile waste. However, the main strategies do not address the challenge of accelerating overproduction and the increasing use of synthetic textiles. Further growth in the fashion industry is problematic if textiles are to be truly circular and have lower resource consumption.

The purpose of the knowledge status report is to provide information that can contribute to the development of an effective extended producer responsibility scheme for textiles in Norway. This includes an overview of textile quantities in the market, textile collection, treatment methods, environmental impact, textile types and products, as well as an assessment of available data sources. The goal is to ensure that the fees from importers cover the treatment costs for textile waste and promote a more environmentally friendly textile consumption in the country.

The mapping has been led by Synnøve Rubach from NORSUS, with Dina Bekkevold Lingås, Steffen Trzepacz, and Mathilde R. Johansen as project assistants from NORION Consult, and John Baxter and Ina Charlotte Berntsen from NORSUS.

Read the publication here (in Norwgian)