Spain: Social upcycling project is a win-win
May 9, 2023

Upcycling old clothes and accessories creates a climate and social impact. In Spain the NGO Caritas does by taking care of old textile waste and the selling of the upcycled products in second-hand shops. Through the social project Moda-re, the organisation conducts collection, reuse, preparation for recycling, donation, and sale of textiles.

Moda-re has a large network of used clothing collection containers throughout Spain. These containers are managed by the project’s member partners and Caritas’ entities in each territory. The goal is to collect clothes, footwear, and accessories so that they don’t end up in a landfill.

Upcycling, jobs, and social support
There are three major “wins” in the Moda-re social project. Through the management of old textile, the project can combat social exclusion, by creating quality jobs for people who find it more difficult to access employment opportunities. And at the same time battle social injustices.

  • Upcycling lessens the climate impact of textiles. None of the textiles collected ends up in a landfill. The organisation aims at achieving carbon neutrality by 2024, so from then on, the operations will generate a positive environmental impact.
  • The project allows Moda-re to create jobs, both in textiles collection and treatment, and in the sales of the upcycled garments.
  • The second-hand stores allow Moda-re to support people without resources to buy garments without costs.

Big numbers in sustainability
Every year they collect more than 42,000 tonnes of second-hand clothing, footwear, and accessories, which they treat in their integrated waste management plants. The content is collected and taken to the waste management plants in each territory. The textiles are sent to the treatment facilities in Valencia, Barcelona, and Bilbao where it is classified and sorted following strict quality filters.

The garments in perfect condition are upcycled or sold as is in the Moda-re’s cooperative’s chain of 137 second-hand shops. The organisation also carries out important awareness-raising campaigns aimed at all audiences, with special emphasis on the educational sector.

Further development

  • Moda-re have implemented automatic textile classification technology. This allows the organisation to lead the process of recycling used clothing into new fibres, together with the most important Spanish manufacturers.
  • Moda-re are installing sensors in the containers that will optimise the collection routes.
  • Moda-re will expand the collection fleet and apply efficient driving management systems. This includes electric vehicles and the installation of photovoltaic recharging facilities to meet the organisations own energy needs.
  • At the same time, the increase in the figures for textile collection is expected, because of the application of a new regulation regarding waste and the increase in public awareness.

Read more about Textile waste management ideas? Click here!