Textile Recovery in the U.S.: A Roadmap to Circularity

The growth of textile waste in the United States is outpacing the growth of every other major category of waste. This report evaluates the current state of textile waste in the U.S. waste stream and explores a future-state system in which textiles are maintained in best and highest use throughout the value chain.

Solving for textile waste in the United States can have a measurable global impact on the upstream investment of human and natural capital like oil, cotton, energy, water, and chemicals used to make textile products. Building systems to recover textiles requires strategic partnerships from across the recovery value chain. This paper outlines the essential elements of an ideal recovery system and describes a way forward to a circular textile economy.


Percent change in absolute tons and tons per capita waste generation 2000-2017.
RRS analysis EPA 2017 Facts and Figures.

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Reviews From Industry Leaders:

“THIS COMPREHENSIVE STUDY is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the fastest growing category of waste in the United States, and the opportunities for future facing brands, innovators, and municipalities to transition from costly linear business models to efficient circular systems for textiles.”
– Kate Daly, Managing Director, Closed Loop Partners

“TEXTILE RECOVERY IN THE U.S.: A ROADMAP TO CIRCULARITY is a comprehensive review of the textile reuse and recycling industry in the United States and the need for collaboration among all stakeholders trying find a solution to the abundance of textile waste that ends up in landfills. The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) and its members have been at the forefront of working on finding the best and highest use for all textiles going into the reuse and recycling stream from pre and postconsumer markets. Textile Recovery in the U.S.: A Roadmap to Circularity recognizes the vital role our members play in the sale, collection, sorting and processing of these materials helping to close the loop and provide circularity to textile reuse and recovery. This White Paper is a great resource for anyone interested in understanding the problems associated with textile waste and the solutions needed to improve the reuse and recovery of textiles in the future.”
– Jackie King, Executive Director, SMART

“RRS MAKES THOUGHT-PROVOKING POINTS and shows salient examples of what the current textile waste and recycling landscape looks like. This paper provides a road map to guide stakeholders across the value chain on who they can collaborate with to drive real material change in the textile industry.”
Nicole Kenny, Co-Founder, Materevolve



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