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tExtended Conversations Series: De Kringloopwinkel

Today, in our Conversations Series, we are speaking with Zara Huybens from De Kringloopwinkel, who has discussed with us how De Kringloopwinkel participates in tExtended and what are the opportunities she sees from working in our project.

My name is Zara Huybens, and I am project leader for circular activities and innovation in textile at De Kringloopwinkel, located in Belgium. We are a social profit company which locally collects, sorts and reuses all kinds of preloved goods including textile through social employment. 

We are studying the limits of local reuse and will be delivering guidelines and a blueprint for optimal local collection and reuse of textile waste. Furthermore, we are preparing our sorting facility and our workers through skill development for the emerging textile recycling industries.  

Various sectors and companies with different incentives which come together for obtaining a common goal, learning from each other’s perspective and expertise on the current textile situation/landscape.  

Our organization, a pioneer in textile collection and reuse within Flanders, possesses extensive knowledge derived from years of experience. This, coupled with our collaborative mindset, makes us an ideal participant for tExtended’s research and activities. Bringing a proven track record and valuable expertise to contribute effectively to the project’s goals and embed reuse in the value chain as it is the highest form of circularity. 

Bridging the gap between the current textile ecosystem and the potential of the conceptual framework through system and technological innovation & collaboration of the different actors involved.  

Through our work on tExtended, we’ve gained invaluable insights into maximizing reuse within the textile sector, one of our primary missions. While some textiles may be unsuitable for reuse due to various reasons, we’ve discovered that this fraction still holds significant opportunities and value, particularly in the field of recycling. This project has been instrumental in unveiling the diverse possibilities within this segment, essentially transforming what was once considered waste into valuable resources for other industries. This evolution represents a significant shift for us, expanding our horizons and presenting a new world of opportunities that align with our commitment to sustainable practices and resource efficiency. We are excited about the positive impact this knowledge will have on our efforts to contribute to a more circular economy.  

Purpose-driven, collaborative & progressive.

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