WRAP unveils changes to £1.5 million textiles fund

Resources charity WRAP has made a number of changes to its £1.5 million fund to support textile recycling projects, in an effort to “streamline the process” and ensure funds can be allocated more quickly. 

Launched on 23 March, the fund was aimed at projects which provide innovative ways to recycle or re-use textiles, and was available through grants of between  £20,000 and £170,000. It was open to organisations of any size.

However, WRAP has now unveiled a host of changes to the fund “in response to Covid-19”, including scrapping the 18 June deadline, with applications assessed on a rolling basis until WRAP closes the scheme (or all funds are allocated).  

Other changes include allowing 100% of capital costs to be funded with no match funding required, releasing the money in milestone payments and allowing the grants to be used to fund capital costs, to reconfigure a business to comply with government guidelines on COVID-19 safety measures.

Peter Maddox, director of WRAP UK, said the changes are in response to discussions with the textile recycling sector.  “We have responded swiftly to feedback from the textile sector that businesses are struggling due to the negative impact of COVID-19.  There has been an excellent response since this fund was launched in March. “Now that there is no absolute deadline and no match funding required, I am confident that many more organisations will come forward with imaginative projects to combat barriers to textile recycling and re-use – and I urge them to apply soon, to make sure they get their share of the funds available.” 

WRAP hasn’t disclosed the number of applications so far submitted.

Export Markets
WRAP explained in its announcement yesterday, 16 June, that increased textiles collection and reprocessing is required in the UK to help deliver the Resource and Waste Strategy and the Circular Economy Package objectives.

The charity added that existing markets for recycled textiles are “small scale and traditional, with limited innovation or growth potential”.

In order to meet  the requirement for separate collections of textiles by 2025, as set out in the Circular Economy Package,  “new processes and markets need to be found, to avoid separately collected items simply being discarded”, WRAP explained.

In addition, WRAP pointed to the face that many textiles recyclers believe that export markets may “diminish over time as other countries increase their exports of used textiles”.

The aim of this grant fund is to address the need for increased capacity, sorting, handling, and reprocessing of textiles from municipal sources.

Pandemic 

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said she is pleased the fund is able to help those hit by the coronavirus pandemic. “I know coronavirus has placed extra pressures on the textiles sector, so I’m very pleased that this fund is helping more organisations to explore innovative solutions for the industry,” she explained.  Ms Pow added: “Fast fashion is having a real impact on our environment. With more than 300,000 tonnes of clothing being sent to landfill or incineration every year, it’s important that we find ways to make the clothing sector more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.”
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