The value of textiles when reused, remanufactured, recycled, and landfilled
This data was drawn from Oakdene Hollins, 2012, Textiles flow and market development opportunities in the UK and WRAP, 2012, Valuing our clothes. Reuse represents the maximum average value of textiles for UK reuse, remanufacturing in the case of textiles is for wiping cloths and rags, recycling involves a lower value cascaded use where textiles are shredded and compressed into matresses, used for flocking, or respun into threads. We have assumed market average percentages of textiles diverted in the calculation of recycled value.
All data on tonnages of wood, plastic, textiles, electronics, and food landfill arisings are based on data from WRAP, November 2012, Landfill bans: feasibility research.
To calculate the potential job creation opportunities from diverting materials from landfill, we reviewed job creation multipliers from a wide range of studies, including:
• Ursus consulting for Friends of the Earth, 2010, More Jobs, Less Waste: Potential for Job Creation in the UK and EU
• LEPU and London South Bank University, 2004, Jobs from recycling
• Cascadia for King County Linkup, 2009, Recycling and Economic Development: Review of Literature
• DSM Environmental Services and MSW Consultants for NERC, 2009, Recycling Economic Information Study Update
• Tellus Institute with Sound Resource Management, 2008, More Jobs, Less Pollution
• Net Balance, 2012, The Australian recycling sector
• DSM Environmental Services, 2013, Jobs through electronics recycling
• California Department of Resources, Recycling, and Recovery, 2013, AB 341’s 75 Percent Goal and Potential New Recycling Jobs in California by 2020
Overall, the assumptions on the destination of material arisings match those in our previous report, Why we need landfill bans. Our consolidated estimates fall in the mid-range of the potential jobs available from better resource recovery across all these studies, but we were influenced by the State of California’s metanalysis, which suggested that Tellus 2008 had a “superior level of detail and analysis.” Where possible, we chose newer sources of jobs data which reflect an increasing role of automation, producing fewer jobs, and value capture, supporting more jobs. Actually achieving the jobs in the UK would require investment in relevant reprocessing infrastructure.
It was assumed that 40 per cent of landfilled wood would be used as biomass, attracting 0.4 jobs per 1000 tonnes (Ursus 2010). The remainder was assumed to be used for the lowest grade of chipboard, supporting 4 jobs per 1000 tonnes (Tellus 2008). The overall split of materials is consistent with analysis of end use in WRAP, 2011, Realising the value of recovered wood.
It was assumed that 80 per cent could be recovered at various grades, based on data from WRAP and MRW, November 2012, Materials pricing report. In the absence of more industry specific data, we used an average of the jobs ratios from the most recent relevant reports, Ursus 2010 and Tellus 2008 – 16.9 jobs per 1000 tonnes. To keep our estimate conservative, the remainder was assumed to be low quality mixed plastics which generate no jobs.
The proportions and value of secondary use found in WRAP, September 2012, Textiles flow and market development opportunities in the UK were used to estimate the total jobs possible: 65% of textiles were available for reuse or remanufacturing (8.5 jobs per 1000 tonnes (Tellus 2008)), with the remainder only being available for recycling (5.7 jobs per 1000 tonnes (Tellus 2008)).
It was assumed food waste arisings would be diverted to relatively low jobs per tonne anaerobic digestion, generating 1 job per 1000 tonnes (average of Ursus 2010 and Tellus 2008). This conservative estimate excludes much higher value recovery possible through avoided food waste, donation of unsold but good quality food via schemes like Fareshare, and the diversion of food waste to animal feed – all of which would be superior outcomes.
It was assumed that 31% by weight of waste electronics, a figure drawn from WRAP, 2011, Realising the reuse value of household WEEE, was suitable for reuse or remanufacturing at 19 jobs per 1000 tonnes (DSM 2013). The remainder was assumed to be recycled, generating 5 jobs per 1000 tonnes (DSM 2013). These figures are significantly more pessimistic than previous electronics jobs figures, which range from 29-40 jobs per 1000 tonnes, perhaps reflecting increasing automation and economies of scale in WEEE recycling.
Read the publication More jobs, less carbon: why we need landfill bans