About our Textile and PPE Recycling Service

Recycling Lives’ unique textile recycling services specialise in the secure destruction and recycling of corporate clothing and all associated PPE e.g. safety helmets, gloves, eye protection, high-visibility clothing, safety footwear and safety harnesses.

Recycling fabric waste through a secure, audited process, we work to have your old textiles reworked into a brand-new fibre.

  • Reducing textile waste sent to landfil
  • Guaranteeing a secure, audited textile recycling process for corporate apparel
  • Creating a new Waste Processed Fibre (WPF) with a wide range of applications including mattress fillings, felts, sound and heat insulation
Textiles Recycling

In the past, clothes recycling has relied on the intrinsic value of the garments, with quality clothing being re-sold in the UK via the charity sector or exported to developing countries. None of these markets have an appetite for corporate clothing, which is typically soiled as well as uniform in style and colour, making it unattractive in the UK or export markets.

Added to this, many organisations require a secure process for handling branded items, to control how and where their branding is seen.

Our secure and audited textile waste recycling process provides a sustainable solution to these problems. We take corporate clothing waste, often made from man-made materials that would otherwise be unrecyclable and give them a new lease of life as Waste Processed Fibre or Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF).

who we work with

  • tomee tippee ®
  • Superdrug
  • makita ®
  • claire's
  • BRITVIC pic ®
  • Russell Hobbs
  • CocaCola
  • tyco Security Products

Benefits designed to help your business

  • Secure and audited textile recycling process for corporate clothing
  • Dedicated account managers; experts in textile recycling
  • Sales support team to handle day-to-day account management
  • Monthly reporting on textiles collections and materials recycled


All our services, from textile collections to textile recycling, contribute to the creation of significant social value - so your corporate clothes disposal becomes a charitable process.

As well as supporting our charitable programmes through textile recycling, we are creating skilled jobs in waste management. All our departments, from office-based to operational teams, create training and employment opportunities for people from marginalised backgrounds, giving us a diverse team with a wealth of life and work experience. 

Working with Recycling Lives means your business supports and sustains our life-changing charitable programmes.

Textiles Recycling

All our commercial activities support and sustain our charitable programmes; reducing reoffending, supporting homeless men and redistributing food. These create opportunities through:

  • HMP Academies - offenders in prison undertake meaningful work, in recycling and waste management processes, to gain transferable life and work skills ahead of release;
  • Residential Support - individuals who would otherwise be homeless are supported to regain their independence and move into work and housing;
  • Food Redistribution - small charities and community groups are supported to reduce their running costs and expand their service offering as we redistribute surplus food from supermarkets and suppliers to them.

The Impact of our partnerships

Our work is doing more than just changing lives for individuals, families and communities - between 2015 and 2018 it has created huge savings for society by reducing costs to the taxpayer and creating social value worth millions of pounds.


  • 24 individuals supported into independent living
  • + 136 ex-offenders rehabilitated
    and supported into work
  • + 2,174,140 meals delivered across
    Lancashire & Cumbria
  • = £17.3m reported Social Value -
    created through savings to society


All the textile waste we receive is taken to a textile recycling facility before it is sorted into four grades for clothes recycling:

1) RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel)
This is the lower grade of waste.  It includes any PU-backed nylons, PTFEs and leather.  This would include items like waterproof coats, trouser belts, safety boots and baseball caps as well as heavily soiled textile waste. These items are compressed into fuel pellets for use in waste to energy.

2) WPF (Waste Processed Fibre)
This higher grade would include items like work trousers, polo shirts, formal shirts, jackets, blazers and pullovers. The best items for this grade need to include a natural fibre element so things like poly-cotton polo shirts and work pants.  

3) Fleece Jackets & Polyester clothing
Polyester fibres cannot be processed with the WPF. Instead they are used in the thermal bonding process for some WPF applications.

4) Other
We recommend that all textile waste is kept dry and free from contaminants prior to processing to ensure the best possible results. 

Textiles recycling regulations

The Duty of Care Regulations state that as a waste holder you must take all reasonable steps to: 

  • Prevent unauthorised or harmful deposit, treatment or disposal of waste 
  • Ensure that all waste is disposed of with a business or individuals that have the correct and relevant environmental permit issued but the Environmental Agency
  • Prevent other parties from breaching permit conditions relevant to the type of waste they process
  • Provide an accurate description of the waste when it is transferred to another business or individual
  • Retain waste documentation about non-hazardous waste for two years

In addition, any waste holder must ensure that waste is transferred to a business or individual that is: 

  • Registered as a carrier, broker or dealer of waste
  • A waste management operator with an environmental permit or registered exemption to accept such waste

Textiles Recycling FAQs

Q: What textiles can be recycled?

We can only recycle textiles that are dry and free from other contaminants like food waste, oil and fluids. Wet or contaminated waste is almost impossible to process and waste that can be recycled into WPF must also be clean.


why work with us

Josh Steiner Social Value & Sustainability Manager Wates Group Recycling Lives has reaped the rewards of strong commercial and social credentials to secure large-scale contracts. The high value and quality nature of the service, alongside its demonstrable social benefits has prompted the organisation’s ongoing success, allowing it to expand its range of services and open in new locations to achieve nationwide coverage Read moreRead less

Discover the benefits of the Recycling Lives Portal

Recycling Lives Portal

Our bespoke customer portal can be tailored to your business needs. After we’ve assessed your waste streams, we’ll ensure the portal is responsive to making collection requests, viewing the recycling process and tracking recycle rates.

Waste Management Portal Producer Compliance Portal

Learn more about Recycling Lives

We’ve operated in the recycling sector for 40 years - learn more about our history and impact to date

Get in touch with Recycling Lives

We’d love to hear from you - contact us about recycling waste, working together or joining our team

What Sectors we operate in

We service all sectors - see how we can manage your waste for environmental and social benefit

Textiles Recycling
News, Blogs & Case Studies