According to the World Resources Institute, roughly 20 pieces of clothing per person are manufactured each year. While today’s consumers tend to purchase 60% more clothing than in 2000, they keep it for about half as long. Understanding what consumers do with textile items and clothes they no longer want or need, is a crucial element of the RESYNTEX-project. By considering purchase, donation and disposal motivators, as well as by information and communication preferences, the project is carving out strategies to effectively communicate with citizens regarding responsible end-of-life options for clothes and textiles, and to widen citizens’ participation in textile collection schemes, thereby increasing supply of used clothes and textiles and diverting from landfill and incineration.
Citizen labs have been designed to be an entertaining and interactive way of collecting information about stakeholders’ behaviour when it comes to disposing or recycling clothes and textiles. Complementing the traditional survey with exercises where participants need to choose pieces of clothes and textiles and place those in their preferred disposal options for example, allows for a more exciting and ludic experience encouraging participants to share and explain their behaviours.
The RESYNTEX Citizen Labs follow on directly from the RESYNTEX stakeholder workshops, in which industry stakeholders pointed towards further citizen engagement as key to a successful circular economy clothing and textiles system. Stakeholders recognised that citizens were often lacking in their awareness and participation in textile reuse and recycling schemes, and that a more thorough understanding of citizen and consumer motivations for purchasing and disposal were necessary to empower and mobilise individuals.