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LONDON – The UK Textile Recycling Association has questioned the assertion that huge quantities of unrecyclable textiles – trash, essentially – are being exported to Kenya from the UK. The claims were made in the recent Changing Markets report which suggests ‘trash quality’ garment exports from the EU to Kenya are being dumped, burned to heat water, for cooking – and even allegedly to fuel a power station. The report alleges EU countries are now dumping 37 million items of ‘trash’ quality garments in Kenya every year that are too dirty or damaged to be reused.

Speaking on behalf of the Textile Recycling Association, chief executive Alan Wheeler said the UK was no longer a significant source of used clothing in Kenya, exporting just 7,328 tonnes in 2021. This compares to China which shipped 78,575 tonnes, equivalent to 43 per cent of all used clothing received in Kenya, compared to the UK’s 4 per cent.

He also said TRA’s members “follow some of the most stringent requirements in the world, including fumigation of shipped items for the Kenyan market and physical inspection by an inspector at point of loading.”

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