Clothing Donation Containers to Double in Reykjavík

Textiles at an Icelandic Red Cross sorting facility.

The number of clothes donation containers in the capital area will be doubled from 40 to 80, and they will be placed closer to residents’ homes, RÚV reports. SORPA is taking over the management of the container network from the Icelandic Red Cross. The aim is to reuse more of the donated textiles, and those that cannot be repurposed will be burned for energy production rather than buried in landfills.

Containers overflowing with donations

Overflowing clothing donation containers have become a fairly common sight in Reykjavík in recent years. Donations often surpass the capacity of the containers and Iceland’s capacity to sort and reuse the textiles. In 2020, the Icelandic Red Cross exported about 200 shipping containers filled with used clothing, equivalent to around 900 tonnes of fabric.

Gunnar Dofri Ólafsson, director of communications at SORPA, says that currently only 3-5% of all textiles collected in Iceland are reused, in the sense of being worn by a second user after the first one discards them. Gunnar says SORPA’s main goal is to increase this percentage by whatever means possible.

Circular economy legislation implemented

New legislation called The Circular Law that took effect in Iceland last year stipulates that textile donations must be collected at drop-off centres close to where residents live. Now SORPA has taken over the management of the clothing donation containers as the Red Cross did not feel it had the capacity to add additional collection points.

Read more about the Circular Law in Iceland and entrepreneurs who are making the country’s economy more circular.