Waste is a global problem that seriously affects the economy, the environment and overall living. The model on which the traditional economy operates – take, make, use, throw and pollute, is already being replaced by the model of a circular economy, i.e. a closed circular process that at each stage takes care of the waste that needs to be reduced, recycled and disposed of or reused.
Textile waste, in particular, is a serious environmental problem, with huge potential for its reuse as a raw material for the production of new materials. In Macedonia, with about 35,000 employees and more than 600 million Euros of annual exports, the textile industry is one of the leading industries, and it produces about 700 tons of waste per year. The Municipality of Štip, with about 80 textile companies is a municipality with the most developed textile industry in the country, where in fact the biggest amount of unresolved textile waste is created. When it comes to textile waste, it is worth mentioning the textile waste generated by households (such as washed clothes), which is also a serious problem that pollutes the environment. For this waste, specifically in Macedonia, there are no relevant research and information that will allow us to find out how big this problem is and what are the possibilities for its solution.
Textile waste is actually a huge potential because it is a cheap raw material for producing new materials with added value. But while the potential for recycling and reuse is great, there is still no initiative to encourage this possibility. One of the factors influencing this situation is the lack of relevant information on what it means to reduce the amount of waste on the one hand and what are the opportunities to generate profit from it on the other.
The Foundation for development of the local community Štip (FRLZ Stip), in its new project “Reduce, reuse, recycle – business models for the use of textile waste” supported by the Foundation Open Society – Macedonia will focus exactly on the potentials of the textile waste on the local level, where the largest amount of textile waste is generated, in Štip.
Through this project, they will explore and promote sustainable models for the use of textile waste as a business opportunity for socially vulnerable groups. Starting from the fact that there are no relevant data related to the textile waste both industrial and household, FRLZ Stip will investigate the situation with the collection, processing and reuse of the textile waste and the possibilities offered by the reuse in the municipality of Štip. At the same time, it will try to raise the awareness of the citizens for recycling through the possibilities for reuse of textile waste and creation of products with added value, but also through education of the local population, especially women/girls, youth and people from socially vulnerable categories.
The inclusion of socially vulnerable categories is especially important in this segment because in the short term it will strengthen their capacities for a better position in the labor market, but in the long run, it will encourage the development of social entrepreneurship and the opening of new small businesses.
—————————————————27 April 2021