Race Against Waste, a Dutch project
Netherlands: Getting the young to act
June 21, 2023

Everyone can make a difference. That is one of the takeaways of the Dutch Race Against Waste. The organisation offers practical solutions for a large group of young people, all aiming at making an impact together. Or as they themselves say: We dream of a world without waste!

Race Against Waste inspires and involves everyone to participate in the transition towards a circular economy. Through the Textile Races they raise awareness among the younger generations about consuming, reusing, repairing, and recycling.

“We dream of a world without waste!”

Building young citizen awareness
Race Against Waste engages young generations into sustainability. Through educational action campaigns, children from more than 700 primary schools in the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Spain have learned about the circular economy and energy saving.
Race Against Waste has four project types, called races: the E-waste Race, the Textile Race, the Energy Race, and the Water race. In these races, children learn about how people impact the environment. But much more importantly, they also learn what to do about it.

Rotterdam, Kick-off Textile race at Jan Antonie Bijloo school. Photo: Jan de Groen.

In a race, school teams compete against each other, to make as much positive impact as possible. For example, in the Textile race the teams receive points for campaigning in residential areas and carrying out textile repairs, clothing swaps, and collecting used textiles for reuse and recycling. And they also involve their parents, neighbours, and family.

How they do it
Even if the races are a form of competition, Race Against Waste emphasises om collaborations and to work together. There are three distinct ways the organisation works. Education, Inspiration and Activation are all a natural part of each race.
Race Against Waste is a social enterprise, with the aim to support circular economy. Their projects are conducted as collaborations with schools, citizens, partners, and municipalities. The Textile Race is an educational project for primary schools, making the collection of old and damaged textiles fun and easy – combining education with action.

Class photo from a Textile race in the Netherlands

Race Against Waste support children in understanding how to be responsible and sustainable, also in textiles. In each race, 10 primary schools per municipality compete to collect and repair as much textile as possible.
They work with local textile collectors, who help them collect textiles and sort them for reuse and recycling. More than half of the collected textiles are selected for reuse, being put back on the market. The textiles that cannot be reused, are recycled.

Yearly stats

  • 700 Dutch, Spanish, German, and French schools involved in Textile and E-waste races, reaching some 300 000 children, parents, friends, and neighbours
  • Collection of more than 154,000 kg of textiles yearly, saving 2 117 tonnes of CO2 emissions. (55% of the collected textiles is reused).
  • More than 3500 clothing repairs and modifications every year
  • Textile Races gain lots of (local) attention: on average, one Textile Race generates about 10 media items (newspaper, television & radio)
  • The Textile Race keeps expanding yearly in France, Germany, and Spain, but also soon in Great Britain.

Learn more about Race Against Waste
Their Web page.
On Youtube.

Read more about Textile waste management? Click here!