The charity organisation Humana Italia
Italy: Avoid waste by building citizen trust
August 23, 2023

You can simply be successful when building a local collection scheme. Transparency and communication went hand in hand when Italian Humana Italia 10 years ago built a successful local waste collection project in Italy. ECAP examined this and other European projects in 2018, showing that communication and transparency are keys for success.

In 2013, the charity organisation Humana Italia won a tender to run the service of textile collection in the municipality of Albano Laziale in the province of Rome. Humana Italia won the tender because of their willingness to be transparent in the project. This included documentation of all their economic transactions and of their use of revenue raised from textile collection and processing.
Furthermore, the organisation proposed donating some of the revenue to support local school children. In addition to the collection service, the tender included specific communication activities with schools on textile collection and the social purpose behind it. Communication material was developed in cooperation between Humana and the municipality with the purpose to build trust in the textile collection among citizens.

Important success factors
When the Humana Italia project in Rome was scrutinised by a European organisation in 2018, they saw several success factors in this (and other similar municipal projects). These factors are all built in collaboration and transparency:

  • set measurable goals
  • do a citizen survey in your pre-study
  • ensure transparency, to build trust
  • provide a range of collection/deliveries possibilities
  • use existing stakeholders
  • find ways of collaboration between stakeholders
  • consider a common brand for the project
  • ensure economic viability
  • be pragmatic in implementing local solutions
  • ensure that your project meet regulations and legislation
  • be transparent with what happens with non-reusable garments.

Contribution by the Humana Italia project

  • Collection rates of used textiles increased from 3.5kg/capita to more than 5.8kg/capita in the four first years they collected textiles in the municipality. This was far above the national average of 2.2kg/capita. This was mostly achieved through raised awareness and transparency on textile handling and results of the social projects.
  • Of the collected textiles 70% could be reused, 26% could be recycled and 4% were disposed of as waste.
  • Cooperation between the municipality and the collector increased the yearly collection rate by 65% in 4 years. This was achieved by focusing on communication and transparency to establish renewed trust regarding the collection and handling of donated textiles.

The Humana Italia project in Albano Laziale was one of seven Textile Waste collection projects/cases described by The European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP), with the overall aim of reducing clothing waste across Europe
ECAP was one of the first EU LIFE funded projects to address clothing sustainability, delivered by a unique consortium of specialist organisations, supported by EU LIFE funding. Find out more at

This text is in part based on a report, written by Watson et al (2018): Used Textile Collection in European Cities. Study commissioned by Rijkswaterstaat under the European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP)

The downloadable report from ECAP.

More about Textile waste management across Europe? Click here!