Committed to collecting old clothes

Werden Hose, Pullover oder Winterjacke nicht mehr regelmäßig getragen, gefallen nicht mehr oder entsprechen nicht der neusten Mode, wandern sie im besten Fall direkt in die Altkleidersammlung und werden beispielsweise von TEXTILTIGER direkt zu Hause klimaneutral abgeholt. Damit ist für viele Konsumentinnen und Konsumenten der Prozess der Altkleiderentsorgung abgeschlossen. Aber gibt es Regeln, die wir bei der Entsorgung beachten müssen und welche Gesetze und Pflichten haben Sammler und Entsorger im Umgang mit Textilabfällen?

Used clothing is an important resource — this applies both to non-profit clothing stores and the second-hand trade as well as to recycling companies that process the clothes that are no longer wearable. However, in order to give our old clothes as consumers the opportunity to continue to be used, there are a few things we need to consider. The same applies to old clothes collectors and disposal companies, which must implement a variety of legal regulations, guidelines and strategies.

For a sustainable circular economy: dispose of old clothes correctly

Consumers who decide to dispose of their old clothes will ideally hand them over to old clothes collectors or dispose of them in the old clothes container that can be found in most cities. However, clothing is also repeatedly disposed of with residual waste. Although this does not violate any disposal regulations, because old clothing is a residual waste under waste law, it is not really acting sustainably. This is because old clothes cannot be reused or recycled in this way in accordance with Section 6 Circular Economy Act (KrWG). Since the 2020 amendment to the KrWG came into force, municipalities have increasingly tendered textile recycling services and have assumed responsibility, as it were, from taking over the discarded clothing to recycling. From January 2025, the KrWG provides for the separate collection of used textiles. The legislator is thus also implementing the EU Waste Framework Directive in national law. The legislator has not yet provided detailed information on the structure of the collection obligation and leaves this to public waste management agencies. In addition, the EU Waste Framework Directive must implement measures that support the use and recovery as well as the creation of systems to promote repair. In addition, there are a number of other regulations aimed at the sustainable orientation of the textile industry. These include the EU Textile Strategy, the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act and the Biocide Regulation. Even if these regulations are not directly associated with the collection of old clothes at first glance, they have a major impact on the entire textile sector and therefore also affect garments that return to the textile cycle when sorted out.

Illegal collections of old clothes are a major problem

In Germany, collectors of old clothes — regardless of whether they benefit social projects, resold as second-hand clothing or are processed into recycled raw materials — need approval. This applies both to front door collections and to the installation of clothing containers. If collectors violate the permit requirement, this constitutes an administrative offense that can be prosecuted by the waste authorities. The permit does not have to be obtained from the recycling company, but from the collector of the old clothes. However, it is difficult for consumers to identify whether they are reputable collectors such as TEXTITIGER or a “black sheep” in the industry. In most cases, illegal collectors claim a fake “good cause” or misuse Christian symbols, etc. This causes great skepticism — even towards legal collectors of old clothes. That's why our tip: When looking for a reputable old clothes collector, you should choose companies that provide specific and verifiable information about their old clothes collections. This is also a top priority for TEXTILTIGER: We want to dispel all prejudices and provide information about our industry. To do this, we rely on the full transparency of our offering. We are convinced that we can make a major contribution to making the textile industry more sustainable in this way.


• BVSE - Fachverband Textilrecycling: Wie erkennt man seriöse Kleidersammlungen und was kann man gegen illegale Sammlungen tun?;

l• BVSE - Fachverband Textilrecycling: Alttextilien – BVSE-Leitfaden für die öffentlicheVergabe;

• Umwelt Bundesamt: Abfallvermeidung von Textilien – Übersicht zu gesetzlichenRegelungen, Leitfäden, Streategien, Umweltzeichen und Siegeln;

• Bundesministerium der Justiz und Bundesamt für Justiz: Gesetz zur Förderung derKreislaufwirtschaft und Sicherung der umweltverträglichen Bewirtschaftung von Abfällen;

• VKU: Neufassung der kommunalen Getrenntsammelpflichten;

• Zweckverband Entsorgungsregion West: 3.6.5 Altkleider;• Deutsches Rotes Kreuz: Getrenntsammlungspflicht – Kein Grund zum Aktionismus;