Post-consumer textiles for the refurbishment of office chairs

The municipality of Groningen (the Netherlands) aims to become a zero waste municipality by 2030. To achieve this goal, Groningen is reducing its waste streams by preventing new waste streams and by converting waste into resources. To this end, the municipality has launched a project called Gronings Goud, or Groningen Gold. The project aims to showcase the opportunities and social impact of the circular economy.It links local post-consumer textiles to the refurbishment of the municipality‚Äôs office chairs.

The municipality of Groningen chose to focus on textiles because they are one of the most problematic waste streams worldwide. The municipality also collects large quantities of discarded textiles every year (1.2 million kilos, only a very small part of which is recycled), and wanted to see whether it could contribute to a solution as a local government. The municipality wanted to become a launching customer of a circular textile product, and opportunities for this were found in the circular office furniture contract that was already in place.

The textiles are collected, sorted, spun into yarn and woven back into fabric again. The fabric consists of 75% post-consumer textiles collected in the municipality, and 25% recycled polyester. The success of the project is achieved by engaging multiple stakeholders in the value chain: the furniture manufacturer, social enterprises and innovative companies. The project focuses on the local scale and achieving a positive, local societal impact. The municipality wants this project to serve as an example of a scalable and replicable systems approach.

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