24 October 2019 by Joshua Doherty

Textiles ‘disrupting recycling’ in Merseyside

The Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority (MRWA) has launched a campaign to address the issue of textiles “disrupting” the authority’s recycling process.

The initiative is part of MRWA’s “Recycle Right” campaign which was launched in 2018 to help tackle issues around recycling, including the contamination of recyclables. This was against a background to a 16.25% contamination rate reported through the MAF (Materials Analysis Facility) Analysis. Of the prohibited materials, 8% is textiles.

Recycling in Merseyside is sent to two Veolia MRFs in Gillmoss and Wirrall, under a 25 year contract  signed in 2009 with Veolia.

Textile recycling Merseyside

The MRWA is hoping the campaign will reduce the amount of textiles being wrongly disposed of

As part of the latest campaign, householders will receive leaflets and ‘public roadshows’ will advise residents that they can dispose of textiles ‘whatever state they’re in’.

But, the message will be that the textiles should not go in the recycling bin and instead they should be donated to charity shops (even poor quality goods separately marked as ‘rags’), sold on, be used in local projects or deposited in banks at one of the region’s household recycling centres.

The MRWA says that textiles put into the area’s kerbside recycling bins can be “difficult to recover” through the sorting process which is “geared towards separating cans, glass jars and bottles, paper, cardboard, and plastic bottles”.

“We don’t want textiles in recycling bins with other recyclable items such as bottles and paper because they disrupt the sorting and separating machinery”

Carl Beer, MRWA

Councillor Tony Concepcion, chairperson of the MRWA, said: “It’s a simple message to residents – please keep clothes and textiles out of your bin. Use recycling bring banks, charity shops, charitable door-to-door collections, reuse them, give them away or even sell them to someone who wants them.”


Carl Beer, chief executive of MRWA, confirmed there is a “problem” with textiles being disposed of with kerbside recyclable materials.

He said: “We don’t want textiles in recycling bins with other recyclable items such as bottles and paper because they disrupt the sorting and separating machinery. Furthermore, we don’t want textiles in household waste bins because that is just a waste of material resources which could be used again.”

Leave it loose

Mr Beer added: “The new campaign will see posters put up at Liverpool’s main city centre train stations (Lime Street, Central, Moorfields and James Street), adverts in the Metro newspaper, adverts broadcast on Radio City, Greatest Hits Radio and City Talk 105.9, as well as social media messaging.”

Textiles which have gone through a MRF (stock photo)

The latest textiles campaign follows on from one in September, which encouraged people to put recyclable materials loose into their recycling bins and to not bag them up.

The MRWA is responsible for the disposal of municipal waste on Merseyside. It is a statutory Authority that works with all councils on Merseyside – Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral.

The authority achieved a 39% recycling rate in 2018/19.



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