Presenting the project "Textile Recycling to Sustainable Solutions"
The total value of the project, supported by the EU through the Cross-border Program Serbia/Montenegro, was 172.511 Euros, while the amount of the project in Montenegro was 89.138 Euros. In Montenegro the project was realized by partnership of NGO SOS Phone Niksic and the Employment Office of Montenegro (EOM) - branch office Niksic, while the Serbian partners were Women's Center Uzice, the National Employment Service - branch office Uzice and the Regional Development Agency Zlatibor.
The main objective of the project "Textile Recycling to Sustainable Solutions", which was implemented in the period April 2014 - June 2015, was contribution to the creation of conditions for employment of vulnerable groups in Serbia and Montenegro. The emphasis was on the creation of employment opportunities for women from Niksic and Uzice who long wait for employment or who have become redundant on different grounds. To achieve this goal, the project established the system of collection and processing of recycled textiles which then were distributed in the market.
Results of the project: Through the selection process more than 100 women from EOM - Branch Office Niksic have been informed, and then in accordance with the predefined matrix of indicators and sub-indicators, 40 women were selected for the motivational trainings, interviews, info sessions. The final outcome of this was the selection of 20 women who were went through last specialized training to manufacture products from recycled textiles. The training was led by the renowned fashion designer Ivana Murišić and her team. After the training, 10 women were selected and in early March they had started their work in recycling workshop for the manufacture of products from recycled textiles.
Along with the selection process and implementation of training for selected women, NGO SOS Phone Niksic established the infrastructure and technical prerequisites for the production of materials of recycled textiles. Two specialized containers for the collection of textiles were purchased and installed in front of the organizations offices, which meant creating preconditions for the primary selection of textile waste. The venue was adapted, professional washer and dryer as well as professional irons were purchased. It also incorporated an interior which created the preconditions for secondary screening and sorting textiles for recycling.
Intending that the work of future workshops be more efficient and cost-effective in the long run, a study was conducted on the demand for products made from recycled textiles. Renowned research agency IPSOS has done study and it was carried out on a representative sample of the whole Montenegro and Serbia population. In accordance with the obtained results in the workshop for the manufacture of products from recycled textile in Niksic prototypes for the three product groups were rendered:
- Items for personal use: handbags, laptop bags, cases for tablets, mobile phones and sunglasses, backpacks...
- Items for interior/paths, patchwork, coasters...
- Clothes for pets
Manufactured prototypes were tested with potential customers through focus groups and, on the basis of these findings, a redesign of the product was made and product catalog from the workshop was printed.
Special attention through the project was paid to informing the general public about the model of recycling textiles as an effective means for solving the multiple problems in the areas of social employment, ecology and sustainable development. In June, the town square in Niksic organized a joint exhibition of products made from recycled textiles produced in recycling workshops in Niksic and Uzice.
Benefits of the project: This project was created to bring economic, social and environmental benefits to the community. It provides contribution to strengthening the knowledge and capacity of women who are vulnerable on different grounds, helps their integration into the community and helps to improve their financial status.
Textile waste that is collected has features which ensure that it can be one hundred percent recyclable. Part of textile waste (from 30 to 50 percent) is still wearable and is distributed to socially vulnerable categories of population. The remaining textile waste that has passed through the secondary selection and sorted materials enters into the process of production of new products, which are then distributed to the market. As a result of recycling workshops, ten women turned textile waste into new, attractive products for the market and it can provide them financial benefits. The recycling of textiles significantly contributes to reducing pollution, as textile waste accounts between five and eight per cent of municipal waste in a single country.
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