EU citizens consume over 13 kg per capita of clothing per year resulting in at least 5.7 million tonnes being discarded each year1, equivalent to filling 5.500 Olympic swimming pools with clothes. Despite these significant volumes, separate collection rates of discarded textiles in most EU countries2 are low, with the majority landfilled or incinerated. Nevertheless, in 2014, the trade of used clothes was around 4.2 million tonnes with a value of 4.4bn Dollars3. Given that used clothes are a global commodity, periods of high demand cause an increase in the number of rent-seeking actors wanting to collect them – both formal and informal in nature.

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