Humana collected in 2019 17,573 tons of textile used in Spain to give them a second life through their reuse or recycling. Last year more than 2.5 million people donated lothing, footwear, accessories and home textiles that they no longer used in the Foundation's 5,200 green containers, located on public roads and in private spaces thanks to the collaboration of more than 2,000 municipalities and 500 companies. The selective textile collection service is free for municipal coffers and represents a significant saving in the costs of collection and treatment of urban waste.
The 17,573 tons recovered by the Humana Foundation are equivalent to 40 million garments whose management implies a double benefit: the first is environmental, because it reduces the generation of waste and contributes to the fight against climate change. The reuse and recycling of textiles during the past year represents a saving of 55,689 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, taking into account that a study by the European Union indicates that for every kilo of clothes recovered and not incinerated it represents 3,169 kg of CO2 that They stop emitting. The 55,689 tons not emitted thanks to the sustainable management of textiles are equivalent to the annual emission of 21,000 cars (circulating 15,000 km per year) or the annual carbon dioxide absorption of 416,000 trees.
Clothing used for social purposes
The social benefit is the creation of inclusive, stable and quality jobs: Humana generates an indefinite job for every 36,000 kg of textile collected. On the other hand, the resources obtained are allocated to social projects: after more than three decades of activity, 2.5 million people have been involved in development programs in the countries of the South by the hand of local counterparts or partners. The Foundation has allocated more than 31 million euros for the training of primary school teachers, the promotion of sustainable agriculture or the fight against HIV / AIDS, among other actions.
A management with a vision of circular economy
“Humana helps to make the waste management sector more sustainable with a vision of circular economy,” says Elisabeth Molnar, general director of the Foundation, “since it reintroduces garments in the value chain, generates resources with a social impact positive, creates green and sustainable employment, affects the local sphere and promotes the improvement of the living conditions of the most disadvantaged communities thanks to development cooperation programs ”.
Molnar recalls that in 2025 all the countries of the European Union must have established a separate collection for textile waste, "which will undoubtedly increase the low rates of separation at source, which now do not exceed 10% in Spain." “From Humana, we applaud the work of the municipalities that promote the selective collection of textiles. We are facing an opportunity and a huge challenge to give the definitive impulse to the appropriate management of this resource, faithful to the hierarchy of waste and to a circular economic model, in which the prevention and reintroduction of the textile in the production chain takes priority, prolonging its life cycle. "
Increase containerization in the public space to facilitate donations from citizens. This is one of the objectives of the Human Foundation to increase the selective collection of textile waste in 2020. And in Spain, one million tons of clothes are disposed of annually (each citizen disposes of between 30 and 40 kg of textile per year, according to data from the Waste Agency of Catalonia and the Ministry for Ecological Transition) but only 10% comes from an authorized manager; the rest (900,000 tons) ends up in landfills where it cannot be used in any way. "It is essential to raise the number of collection points to raise these records," says Elisabeth Molnar. The current ratio is one textile container for every 4,700 inhabitants while the ideal ratio is one for every 300-500.
The second major objective for 2020 is for the sector to have a homogeneous information system that allows to know in a transparent way how much textile waste is recovered, reused, recycled or disposed of in Spain. “Transparency in traceability throughout the value chain and making visible the destinations of the different waste streams is fundamental,” says the director general of Humana, “the existence of reliable indicators is key to the operation and credibility of the system, as well as to give citizens confidence. ”
In addition, the Foundation intends to continue delving into the social factor of textile management, emphasizing the importance of strengthening this factor in the public procurement documents of this service.