WRAP is making it easier for businesses to access funds for innovative ways to recycle or re-use textile waste in response to challenges caused by Covid-19. The government-backed organisation has relaunched its £1.5 million textiles grant fund to make it more accessible and has streamlined the application process so that funds can be allocated more quickly.

Under the scheme, amounts between £20,000 and £170,000 (the maximum state aid threshold) are available to organisations of any size, both commercial and not-for-profit. The money is for capital expenditure only, either for equipment or technologies that enable recycling or re-use of clothing or linen waste textiles. The deadline for applications – previously 18 June – no longer applies and applications will be assessed on a rolling basis until WRAP closes the scheme or all they money has been allocated.

The grants are intended to support projects that provide innovative ways for textile waste to be recycled or re-used, keeping it out of landfill or incineration so that it remains a valuable resource.  Successful projects need to demonstrate “innovation beyond normal practice” and will be assessed against a number of criteria.

Changes under the re-launched scheme mean that 100% of capital costs are now funded, so no match funding is required, and the money will be released in milestone payments. The grant can be used to fund capital costs to reconfigure a business to comply with government guidelines on Covid-19 safety measures, where this forms an integral part of an innovative proposal or project.

Applicants are being invited to apply immediately by going online at wrap.org.uk/content/textiles-recycling-and-re-use-small-scale-grant.

Peter Maddox, director of WRAP UK, said: “We have responded swiftly to feedback from the textile sector that businesses are struggling due to the negative impact of Covid-19.

“There has been an excellent response since this fund was launched in March. Now that there is no absolute deadline and no match funding required, I am confident that many more organisations will come forward with imaginative projects to combat barriers to textile recycling and re-use – and I urge them to apply soon, to make sure they get their share of the funds available.”

Increased textiles collection and reprocessing is required in the UK to help deliver the Resource and Waste Strategy (R&WS) and the Circular Economy Package (CEP) objectives.

Existing markets for recycled textiles are small scale and traditional, with limited innovation or growth potential. To meet the requirement for separate collections of textiles by 2025, new processes and markets need to be found, to avoid separately collected items simply being discarded. In addition, the textiles recycling sector believes that export markets may diminish over time as other countries increase their exports of used textiles.

The aim of this grant fund is to address the need for increased capacity, sorting, handling, and reprocessing of textiles from municipal sources.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “I know coronavirus has placed extra pressures on the textiles sector so I’m very pleased that this fund is helping more organisations to explore innovative solutions for the industry.

“Fast fashion is having a real impact on our environment. With more than 300,000 tonnes of clothing being sent to landfill or incineration every year, it’s important that we find ways to make the clothing sector more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.”

WRAP is a not-for-profit organisation that works with governments, businesses and citizens to create a world in where sourcing and the use of resources is sustainable.