This project note presents preliminary findings from a PhD project looking into textile waste from Norwegian households. 28 households collected textiles that they would have otherwise discarded for a period of six months. The textiles were collected by the PhD candidate during visits to the households where qualitative interviews were carried out. Then, all textiles were registered along with information from the interviews. The findings indicate that most of the discarded textiles are clothes and shoes. However, when broken down into textile categories, household textiles represent the largest group of discarded textiles. In addition, findings show that about one third of the collected textiles were in a very good condition, either like new or with only minor changes. The fiber content of the textiles corresponded with the preliminary findings from work package 2 in Wasted Textiles, as there was an equal distribution between 100% synthetic textiles, 100% non-synthetic textiles and textiles containing a mix of these. It was also found that the largest group of users were adult women, especially when looking at number of textiles discarded. If weight was applied instead, the difference between the genders evened out more. As these findings are preliminary, it is too early to provide any hard conclusions. Instead, the project note is meant to grant insights into the kind of data that will eventually be available and shared with the project group.
Etter en opprydding i klesskapet står du kanskje der med en bukse med et digert hull på kneet, en genser du sluttet å bruke for lenge siden eller en kjole du egentlig aldri fikk brukt. Hvor skal du gjøre av klærne du ønsker å bli kvitt?
Hele og fine plagg legger du kanskje i en konteiner for klesinnsamling til UFF eller Fretex, men hva med de ødelagte klærne?
– Det er få andre muligheter enn å kaste dem i restavfallet, sier SIFO-stipendiat Anna Schytte Sigaard.
Men det skal det trolig bli en slutt på om ikke lenge. Tekstiler er prioritert i EUs strategi for sirkulærøkonomi, og innen 2025 skal det innføres tekstilinnsamling, også i Norge.
– For å finne ut hvordan dette skal organiseres må vi vite hvilke typer tekstiler som blir levert inn, sier Sigaard.
Hun er med i forskningsprosjektet Wasted Textiles, som studerer hvor det blir av alle tekstilene som går ut av bruk. Hvorfor kaster vi klær, hva kaster vi, og hva velger vi å beholde? Hvilken tilstand er klærne som blir kastet i, og hvor mye består av syntetiske materialer, altså plast?
For hva skal skje med tekstilene som samles inn? Kan de resirkuleres på noen måte, slik at materialene kan brukes videre?
Vi sjekker merkelappen med Matoha FabriTell fiberskanner.
Forfattere: Anna Schytte Sigaard, Ingun Grimstad Klepp og Tone Skårdal Tobiasson
I prosjektet Wasted Textiles har en av utfordringene vært å identifisere hvilke fibre klær faktisk består av, både når klærne er merket – men spesielt når de ikke er det.
I november var Wasted Textiles så heldige å få tilgang på fiberskanneren FabriTell fra det engelske firmaet Matoha (matoha.com). FabriTell er en liten håndholdt maskin på bare 0,5 kg som bruker nær infrarød (NIR) analyseteknikk til å identifisere fibersammensettingen i tekstiler. Den kan kjenne igjen to-komponent blandinger av de mest vanlige fibrene, som bomull, polyester, viskose, ull, silke, elastan og akryl i alle typer konstruksjoner av tekstiler, altså både strikkede, vevde og nonwoven materialer.
Vi skal bruke skanneren til å sjekke fiberinnhold i klær og tekstiler innsamlet fra husholdninger i Oslo, Vestfold og Salten i løpet av det siste året. Vi har allerede registrert fiberinnhold som angitt på merkelappene, men mange av tekstilene har ikke merkelapp og i en stor del av klærne har lappen blitt klippet av eller er så slitt fra vask at den ikke kan avleses. Med FabriTell får vi nå mulighet for å registrere innholdet mer presist for disse tekstilene. Vi vil også få vite om våre antagelser om fiberinnhold stemmer. Undersøkelser i andre land har vist at mange klær er feilmerket og faktisk inneholder en større andel av syntetiske fibre enn det som er oppgitt på merkelappene. Vi skal sjekke om dette også gjelder for klær i Norge.
De siste dagene har vi skannet over 200 klesplagg og ser allerede nå at noen er feilmerket, mens andre utelater visse deler av plaggene i det oppgitte fiberinnholdet. På bildene under ses eksempler fra skanningene. På det første bildet skannes en bluse, som ut ifra fibermerkingen skulle bestå av 60% viskose, 20% bomull og 20% polyester, altså 80% plantebaserte fibre og 20% syntetiske fibre. Ifølge skanningen består denne blusen av ca. 80% polyester og 20% elastan, altså 100% syntetiske fibre.
På det andre bildet skannes en genser som ifølge merkelappen skal være laget av 50% bomull og 50% viskose, men FabriTell gir et litt annet resultat. Når forside og bakside av t-skjorten skannes, viser den riktignok 100% plantebaserte fibre, men når kragen skannes, blir resultatet ca. 80% bomull og 20% polyester. Vi fant det samme for flere plagg som var angitt som 100% plantebaserte fibre. Når vi testet hoveddelene av plaggene, stemte fibermerkingen overens med resultatene fra skanneren, men når vi testet krage, ermekanter og bunnribben på gensere og t-skjorter, så målte vi opp imot 30% elastan, nylon eller polyester.
Det vi har sett så langt tilsier at mange klesplagg som ifølge merkelappen skal være laget av plantebaserte fibre også inneholder syntetiske fibre i deler av plaggene og at andre plagg kan være fullstendig feilmerket. Merking av klær er en av de få kildene til informasjon vi som forbrukere har tilgang på om klærne vi kjøper. Feilmerking av denne typen bidrar derfor til at forbrukere får enda større problemer med å navigere i et allerede uoversiktlig marked og, i visse tilfeller, blir ført bak lyset av klesprodusentene. For oss i Wasted Textiles vil skanneren bidra til mer nøyaktige opplysninger om hvor mye av klærne som går ut av bruk i Norge er laget av syntetiske fiber.
I løpet av den neste måned skal vi skanne datamaterialet som er innsamlet til doktorgradsprosjektet i prosjektet bestående av kasserte klær og tekstiler fra 28 husholdninger. Resultatene vil gi et innblikk i feilmerking av klærne som i Norge ender opp i avfallsstrømmer eller går ut av bruk på andre måter. Dette er viktig informasjon hvis vi skal planlegge for hva vi skal gjøre med tekstilavfallet vårt fordi fiberblandinger vanskeliggjør resirkulering.
Authors: Kirsi Laitala and Ingun Grimstad Klepp, SIFO
Garment lifetimes and longer serviceable life play important roles in discussions about the sustainability of clothing consumption.
A compilation of the research on clothing disposal motivations shows that there are three main reasons for disposal:
Intrinsic quality (37%): Wear and tear-related issues such as shrinkage, tears and holes, fading of colour, broken zippers and loss of technical functions such as waterproofness.
Fit (28%): Garments that do not fit either because the user has changed size, or the garment did not fit well to start with (for example due to unsuitable grading, insufficient wear ease or wrong size).
Perceived value (35%): reasons where the consumer no longer wants the garment because it is outdated or out of fashion, or no longer is needed or wanted, or is not valued, for example when there is a lack of space in the wardrobe.
This shows that almost two-thirds of garments are discarded for reasons other than physical durability. Poor fit/design together with lack of perceived value by the owner are responsible for the majority of clothing disposals.
Physical strength is one of the several factors that are important if the lifetime of clothing is to be increased. However, it does not help to make clothes stronger if they are not going to be used longer anyway; this will just contribute to increased environmental impacts from the production and disposal phases. We do not need disposable products» that last for centuries. To work with reducing the environmental impacts of clothing consumption, it is important to optimize the match between strength, value and fit. This has the potential to reduce overproduction. Optimizing clothing lifespans will ensure the best possible utilization of the materials in line with the intentions of the circular economy.
Garment lifetimes and longer serviceable life play important roles in discussions about the sustainability of clothing consumption.
Here we present the empirical findings summarized from the research that exists around clothing disposal. The review was originally conducted for the work with the development of durability criteria for Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) for apparel and footwear. We believe this can be useful information for companies working to improve their products, and debate about clothing sustainability including the understanding of PEF.
We would like to thank Roy Kettlewell and Angus Ireland for their cooperation.
The review includes empirical quantitative studies on clothing disposal reasons. The studies use varying methods, where online surveys are the most commonly used, but also two physical wardrobe studies are included. The way disposal reasons are studied varies as well. Many surveys ask for general, most common disposal reasons, while wardrobe studies and a few of the surveys focus on specific garments that the informants have disposed of. One of the online wardrobe surveys also asks for anticipated disposal reasons for specific garments instead of past behavior. All of the studies have been conducted between 1987 and 2020. The review excluded any studies that did not focus on disposal reasons or did not report results in a quantitative manner. In addition, it excludes a few lower-quality studies with methodological issues. In total 17 studies that fulfil the inclusion criteria were found.
The review shows that clothing is discarded for many reasons. Table 1 summarizes the results and gives some information about the study sample such as where it was conducted and the number of respondents, as well as the main method that was used. Although there are differences between the surveys, they show a common feature. The results on disposal reasons could be placed in three main categories that were found in all reviewed studies: 1) intrinsic quality, 2) fit, and 3) perceived value, and an additional category for 4) other or unknown reasons. The categories include the following disposal reasons:
Intrinsic quality: Wear and tear-related issues such as shrinkage, tears and holes, fading of colour, broken zippers and loss of technical functions such as waterproofness.
Fit: Garments that do not fit either because the user has changed size, or the garment did not fit well to start with (for example due to unsuitable grading, insufficient wear ease or wrong size).
Perceived value: reasons where the consumer no longer wants the garment because it is outdated or out of fashion, or no longer is needed or wanted, or is not valued, for example when there is a lack of space in the wardrobe.
Research design and sample size
Other / unknown
AC Nielsen (Laitala & Klepp, 2020)
Survey in five countries, 1111 adults aged 18-64, anticipated disposal reason of 40,356 garments
Survey in the UK, 2058 adults, 16,895 garments, disposal reasons per clothing category past year
Laitala, Boks, and Klepp (2015)
Wardrobe study in Norway, 25 adults (9 men and 16 women), 396 discarded garments
Wardrobe study in Norway, 24 women aged 34- 46. 329 discarded garments
Collett, Cluver, and Chen (2013)
Interviews in the USA, 13 female students (aged 18 – 28). Each participant brought five fast fashion items that they no longer wear
Survey in the USA, 89 female students (aged 18 – 30). Most recent garment disposal reason.
Lang, Armstrong, and Brannon (2013)
Survey in the USA, 555 adults. General garment disposal reasons.
Koch and Domina (1997)
Survey in the USA, 277 students (82% female). General disposal reasons and methods.
Koch and Domina (1999) and Domina and Koch (1999)
Survey in the USA, 396 adults (88% female). General disposal reasons and methods.
Zhang et al. (2020)
Survey in China, 507 adults (53% female). General disposal reasons.
Ungerth and Carlsson (2011)
Survey in Sweden, 1014 adults (age 16 – 74). The most common disposal reason.
YouGov (Stevanin, 2019)
Survey in Italy, 992 adults, general disposal reasons.
YouGov (2017a, 2017b, 2017c, 2017d, 2017e)
Surveys in Australia, Philippine, Malaysia, Hong Kong & Singapore, in total 12,434 adults. General disposal reasons.
Approx. 20,000 adults
Table 1. Summary of clothing disposal reasons in 17 consumer studies.
When the category of other/unknown reasons is excluded, the division between the three main disposal reason categories is quite similar, with intrinsic quality constituting about 37% of disposal reasons, followed by lack of perceived value (35%) and poor fit (28%) (Figure 1).
A compilation of the research on clothing disposal motivations shows that there are three main reasons for disposal. Intrinsic quality, that is wear and tear and other physical changes of garments is the dominating disposal reason (37%), followed by lack of perceived value (35%) and poor fit (28%). This shows that almost two-thirds of garments are discarded for reasons other than physical durability. Poor fit/design together with lack of perceived value by the owner are responsible for the majority of clothing disposals.
Physical strength is one of the several factors that are important if the lifetime of clothing is to be increased. However, it does not help to make clothes stronger if they are not going to be used longer anyway: this will just contribute to increased environmental impacts from the production and disposal phases. We do not need «disposable products» that last for centuries. To work with reducing the environmental impacts of clothing consumption, it is important to optimize the match between strength, value and fit. Optimizing clothing lifespans will ensure the best possible utilization of the materials in line with the intentions of the circular economy.
Collett, M., Cluver, B., & Chen, H.-L. (2013). Consumer Perceptions the Limited Lifespan of Fast Fashion Apparel. Research Journal of Textile and Apparel, 17(2), 61-68. doi:10.1108/RJTA-17-02-2013-B009
Domina, T., & Koch, K. (1999). Consumer reuse and recycling of post-consumer textile waste. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 3(4), 346 – 359. doi:10.1108/eb022571
Klepp, I. G. (2001). Hvorfor går klær ut av bruk? Avhending sett i forhold til kvinners klesvaner [Why are clothes no longer used? Clothes disposal in relationship to women’s clothing habits]. Retrieved from Oslo: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12199/5390
Koch, K., & Domina, T. (1997). The effects of environmental attitude and fashion opinion leadership on textile recycling in the US. Journal of Consumer Studies & Home Economics, 21(1), 1-17. doi:10.1111/j.1470-6431.1997.tb00265.x
Koch, K., & Domina, T. (1999). Consumer Textile Recycling as a Means of Solid Waste Reduction. Family and Consumer Sciences Research Journal, 28(1), 3-17. doi:10.1177/1077727×99281001
Laitala, K., Boks, C., & Klepp, I. G. (2015). Making Clothing Last: A Design Approach for Reducing the Environmental Impacts. International Journal of Design, 9(2), 93-107.
Laitala, K., & Klepp, I. G. (2020). What Affects Garment Lifespans? International Clothing Practices Based on a Wardrobe Survey in China, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the USA. Sustainability, 12(21), 9151. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/21/9151
Lang, C., Armstrong, C. M., & Brannon, L. A. (2013). Drivers of clothing disposal in the US: An exploration of the role of personal attributes and behaviours in frequent disposal. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 37(6), 706-714. doi:10.1111/ijcs.12060
Increasing the length of clothing lifespans is crucial for reducing the total environmental impacts. This article discusses which factors contribute to the length of garment lifespans by studying how long garments are used, how many times they are worn, and by how many users. The analysis is based on quantitative wardrobe survey data from China, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the USA. Variables were divided into four blocks related respectively to the garment, user, garment use, and clothing practices, and used in two hierarchical multiple regressions and two binary logistic regressions.
The models explain between 11% and 43% of the variation in clothing lifespans. The garment use block was most indicative for the number of wears, while garment related properties contribute most to variation in the number of users. For lifespans measured in years, all four aspects were almost equally important. Some aspects that affect the lifespans of clothing cannot be easily changed (e.g., the consumer’s income, nationality, and age) but they can be used to identify where different measures can have the largest benefits. Several of the other conditions that affect lifespans can be changed (e.g., garment price and attitudes towards fashion) through quality management, marketing strategies, information, and improved consumer policies.
This article was developed from the project ‘Valuing Norwegian Wool’ initiated by the Norwegian National Institute for Consumer Research to generate knowledge on how wool can contribute to sustainable textile consumption, and how value creation can be increased in the Norwegian wool industry. The article will compare consumer perceptions, attitudes, practices and knowledge concerning wool as a material and as garments in Norway and in the United Kingdom, through a case study of wardrobes owned by six middle-class families.
The aim is to generate knowledge about the diverse web of aspects that influence consumption of woollen garments. The wardrobe study as a method aims to include the materiality of garments in clothes research in a more direct way. Analysing the materiality in connection with the social and cultural aspects of clothes gives us a better understanding of the relations between materiality and practice.
The material is not just ‘a carrier of different types of symbols, but an active element in the practices. Bringing this to the fore requires new research methods. This article discusses a methodological approach, we call it a wardrobe study, which allows for the analysis of the way in which clothes relate to each other on the whole or within parts of the wardrobe. More specifically, we discuss how this method can contribute to increasing the materiality of clothes studies. The theoretical point of departure for this approach is a practice theory in which the material enters as an integral part. First, the article briefly discusses developments within the study of dress and fashion. Second, the methods combined and developed in wardrobe studies are discussed. The emphasis here is primarily not only on the weaknesses of the individual methods in practice-oriented dress studies, but also on how they jointly can contribute to the wardrobe study.
Marie Hebrok, Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Tone S. Tobiasson, Kirsi Laitala, Marit Vestvik & Madeline Buck
Wool has been called the white gold and has warmed and brought joy to the Norwegian population throughout history. It is also a textile fibre with many unused features. The starting point of the project Valuing Norwegian Wool is a desire to help Norwegian agriculture, wool based industry, and design to exploit the potential inherent in Norwegian wool as raw material, and in the Norwegian textile tradition. Norway has a thriving textile industry and several strong companies that produce products made of wool. The marketing of the origin of the raw material these products are produced from is however rather inadequate and sometimes misleading. While fewer and fewer of the products are made of Norwegian wool, consumers – not without reason – take it for granted that Norwegian producers use Norwegian wool.
The project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council and led by SIFO. The project partners include representatives from the entire value chain – from agricultural organizations, industry and commerce, and design and consumption. This report is one of many publications in the project and makes visible the challenges that exist in the value chain, but also the great potential that is there.
Denne rapporten handler om hvorfor kvinner slutter å bruke klær og ønsker å kvitte seg med dem. Årsakene til avhending diskuteres i forhold til kvinnenes klesvaner. Klesvaner er både hvordan vi kler oss, og hva vi tenker om dette. Spørsmålet stilles med bakgrunn i et ønske om et mer bærekraftig tekstilforbruk. Tekstiler er forurensende både i produksjon, transport og som søppel. I 1998 kastet vi i Norge til sammen 110 000 tonn tekstiler. Av dette kom 75% fra husholdningene. Hver og en av oss kastet gjennomsnittlig 19,7 kg tekstiler dette året, av dette var ca 11,2 kg klær. I følge Statistisk sentralbyrå blir bare 7% av tekstilene gjenbrukt eller resirkulert.