Civic initiatives and private sector are promoting textile recycling in Ukraine

Despite the lack of facilities and habits textile recycling is on the rise in Ukraine. First steps are made by civic initiatives and private sector.

Recycling textile is a relatively new recycling activity for Ukraine based on responsible consumption. The concept was presented by Natalia Tatarchuk, owner of the RUN/Met_Energy clothing brand. “We need to consume rationally. […] All textiles in use can be recycled into something new,” progressive brand owner said. Actual waste handling hierarchy practice in Ukraine is the opposite of what the EU legislation stipulates. New recycling ways need to be looked up.

Serhiy Volkov, Head of the commercial department for waste collection and recycling at Kyivmiskvtorresursy (privatized company operating in Kyiv) noted that much of the textiles is being buried and the companies willing to collect textile waste are quite a few. It is explained by economic reasons as well as by the fact that it is only possible to recycle natural fabrics such as cotton. While Ukrainians are largely wearing clothes made of synthetic fabrics. Its recycling can be compared to that of the plastic bottle. Department head at the waste collection and recycling company also added that the company currently has 50 tons of textile waste. There is a company that is accepting this waste for recycling to produce the mattress filling.

Anna Gryshchenko, founder and coordinator of the charity shop “Laska” said that the problem of re-use is acute on the market. Only 10 per cent of the used items that are brought to the shop can be sold. Five to ten per cent are reworked into carpets by senior citizens and subsequently sold in the shop. Head of educational projects at “Ukraine without waste” (Ukrayina bez smittya) NGO Olha Chernyavska said their organization promotes separate collection of waste. They have held a series of lectures on the theme for school children in Kyiv.