We buy clothes in bulk and throw them out in bulk; But these Bossche kids know how to handle it | Den Bosch, Vogt

DEN BOSCH – It’s possible that old curtains, worn pants or a broken beloved toy are lying somewhere in the house. Because more than half of textile waste in the Netherlands is not recycled. Shame, I also think these kids are from Bossche.

Textiles can be recycled in different ways, Reused or drop has become. This is also the message of the Textile Race, where ten elementary schools from the municipality of Den Bosch have competed against each other over the past four weeks.

The goal was to collect as much “waste” as possible. As a municipality, we are pleased with this initiative. Reuse is the foundation of a better world,” Alderman Jan Huskam addresses to children.


You helped the whole school, if it wasn’t for the other kids it wouldn’t have been possible

Sufian (11)

It’s a festive morning at De Kameleon Elementary School on Friday. Because the students were crowned winners by Alderman Hussam. With 51 students, they collected 4,886 kilograms of textiles and made 14 repairs. The class won a school trip to the Textile Museum in Tilburg. And they also had a gift for the city world: a special jacket made from recycled textiles. “The whole school participated. It would not have been possible without the other children,” says Sufian (11 years old).

Young children learn

Timmy de Vos, Founder of Textiel Race, is excited about it. “The race was a success in all the schools. Children love to learn. We achieve a lot by raising awareness and knowledge about the possibility of reusing things at this age.”

Teon and Juliet received the award. © Roel van der A

Students were taught about the textile industry, how clothes are made and how waste can be given a second life. “We visited homes in the neighbourhood. Then we asked if people had textiles and we gave them in a bag,” says Lula (11) and Anwar (11).

Textiles are discarded too often, too quickly

We still buy clothes in bulk. In 2019, the total weight of home textiles traded in the Netherlands was 5,438 kilotons, an increase of 10 percent over 2015. This weight is equivalent to nearly 900,000 elephants. The stock of home textiles has gradually risen in recent years, according to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics in February this year.

If you translate this huge weight into the number of pieces of clothing per inhabitant of the Netherlands, it turns out that there are approximately 50 pieces of jackets, pants, sweaters and shirts per person and also almost 40 pieces of underwear.

174 kilotons of textiles end up in residual waste

In 2019, at least 554 kilotons of textiles (more than 90,000 elephants) were either disposed of as waste or exported as second-hand. In 2019, 86 kilotons of textiles (about 14,000 elephants) were collected separately across municipalities.


If you can keep wearing the clothes you already have, that’s the most sustainable

Timmy de Vos, Fabric Race

In addition, 174 kilotons of textiles were disposed of by residual waste. Of the textiles that end up in the remaining waste, 58 percent may be reusable or recyclable. De Vos: If you can keep wearing the clothes you already have, it’s the most sustainable. And if you have to throw it away, don’t put it in the regular trash, where it will be burned and not reused.”

Huub van Oorschot of Den Bosch’s waste management service thinks everything that gets thrown away is a shame: We’ve put out textile rubbish bins. Wolkat textile recycling company in Tilburg sorts bulk textiles by color and material. They first look at what can be brought into the course. The rest is washed and used to make new yarns.”

Alderman Jean Hussam receives a recycled jacket from Wolkat.
Alderman Jean Hussam receives a recycled jacket from Wolkat. © Roel van der A

big yield

In total, the ten primary schoolchildren collected 13,940 kilograms of textiles. This large amount of textiles is sorted and recycled by Wolkat. Primary schools implemented 125 repairs for clothing and soft toys. It is made or made into a new item such as a pillow, bag, or other item of clothing.

Students get bonus points if they fix clothes. I fixed two pants with holes. Now I can wear those pants again”, says Charlotte (11 years old) proudly. Sofiane (11): “I learned that I have to be more careful with my clothes. I hope we can engage in these kinds of actions more often.”

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