This PhD project is a wardrobe study approach to minimizing synthetic textile waste in Norwegian households.
Textile production has increased significantly the past 20 years almost entirely due to synthetic fibres which represent over two-thirds of all materials used in textiles. One of the main environmental problems of textiles involves the creation of large quantities of waste. Little is known about what textile waste consists of, how waste is generated and how textiles are disposed of.
This project is part of Wasted Textiles, financed by the Research Council of Norway and with SIFO as project manager.
The aim of this PhD project is to create knowledge about consumption of textiles in Norwegian households by collecting and analyzing textiles going out of use in order to find out what textile waste actually consists of, and how and why it is created.
A comprehensive mapping of these textiles will be carried out to gain knowledge about the technical composition and history of the individual textile as well as to estimate the proportion of synthetics.
The topic will be explored through the following research questions:
- What do wasted textiles from Norwegian households consist of?
- How and why is textile waste generated in the households?
- How are textiles disposed of by the households?
- What value do people attach to used textiles, and how does this affect textile waste?
Methods and theory
Data will be collected through wardrobe studies by conducting fieldwork in 30 households in both rural and urban areas during a period of 6 months. The households will collect all textiles that would otherwise be thrown out, given away or stored over time and create overviews of leaked textiles.
I will visit the households to collect the textiles and conduct interviews with the participants. Each textile item will be mapped according to history of acquisition and use, type of textile, fibre composition, condition, and reason and planned method for disposal.
The contribution of wardrobe studies in the effort to minimize textile waste is to create an understanding of the relationship between the individual synthetic textile and the larger material context. The theoretical framework will be based on practice theory and two opposing positions: ecological modernization theory and the Earth Logic Research Plan.
Kirsi Laitala, Mari Bjerck og Andreas Ytterstad.
This PhD project is part of the PhD programme in social sciences at OsloMet.