top of page

The Numbers

Sources and estimates

There are a lot of circular and sustainable facts and figures used today. In many cases, they are rough estimates based on limited data and informed assumptions. A list of what we've said recently is below, along with a brief description of how we got there. As available data improves over time, estimates are likely to change. Do you have a better methodology? Did we make a mistake? Send us a note at the bottom of the page!

21 April, 2023 - How good is clothing reuse for the earth?

These figures were meant to make the bigger picture of textile reuse clearer for the average person just ahead of Earth Day.

70 times less impact (reuse compared to buying new clothing)

Source: EuRIC LCA study 2023

  • This is based on comparing 3 different types of t-shirts (100% cotton, 30 cotton / 70 polyester blend, 100% polyester) in global reuse markets. A t-shirt is not representative of all clothing, however, including cotton, polyester, and blends of these fibers in the assessment increases the comparability somewhat.

  • 16 impact categories were used for this assessment to get to the 70 times impact figure, so it is the over all perspective. Only the CO2 measurement is used in the comparison to driving around the world.


20% of new textiles put on the market in Europe get reused

Sources: McKinsey 2022, Sorting for Circularity Europe 2022

  • Estimates range from 30-38% of textiles put on the European market are collected (EU-27). We use 35% to keep it simple.

  • 55% reuse is the figure in the Sorting for Circularity report. Individual companies can report as high as 70%, however, based on interviews and materials characterization studies our team has done in the past several years, 55-60% is a safe estimate at current collection rates.

  • 35% x 55% = 19.25% reuse


Reuse 5 times saves the CO2 of 1.6 million car trips around the world

Ok. We know it sounds crazy. Is it an exact figure? Of course not. Is it plausible based on the available information? Yes.

Sources: McKinsey 2022, Eurostat,,, EuRIC LCA 2023, own studies, Milieu Centraal


  • 6M tonnes of post-consumer clothing and textiles coming from households (McKinsey)

  • 447.319.916 people in EU-27 (Eurostat Population Data, accessed 2022)

  • Average European consumes 13,4 kg / year excluding shoes

  • 3.3 pieces per kg = 44 pieces / person / year (own studies indicate 3-4 pieces / kg; 3.3 keeps the estimate conservative)

  • 3 kg CO2 saved by reusing A and B grade shirts (EuRIC)

  • Chose reuse 5x / yr to save 1.6M car trips

    • 6M tonnes clothing and textiles = 19.8B pieces

    • (44 -5)/44 = 0.886 … 11,4% fewer textile pieces

    • 11.4% of 19.8B = 2.3B pieces

    • 3kg CO2 per item = 6.8B kg CO2

    • 100 km driving alone in a car = 10,4 kg CO2 (

    • Earth’s circumference at the geographic Equator is about 40,075 km (

    • 1 trip around the earth in a car = 4160 kg CO2

    • 6.8B / 4160 kg per loop = 1.6M trips


Another comparative reference point is from Milieu Centraal in the Netherlands: not buying a clothing item saves over 6.6 kg / CO2. 

Do you know something we don't?

Get in touch so we can start working together.

  • LinkedIn

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page