Promoting Circular Economy in Jordan's Ready-Made Garment Industry

In many low- and middle-income countries, the textile and garment industry has developed into an important economic sector, which provides jobs and incomes for more than 60 million people. At the same time, precarious employment conditions prevail in this sector, as evidenced by human rights violations as well as non-compliance with social and economic standards . In Jordan, the production of textile and apparel in industrial zones results in considerable amounts of solid textile waste that are presently disposed of in municipal landfills. Especially the waste from the ready-made garment (RMG) sector is of great concern. Garments that do not meet the customers' quality standards as well as excess garment products that were not accepted or sold are thrown away.

To address the issues and concerns in Jordan, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) commissioned a study on potential entry points for advancing circularity in the country's textile sector. The study looked at the example of the ready-made garment industry in Al Hassan Qualified Industrial Zone in Irbid, based on reports which indicated that around 50 tonnes of textile waste were generated there on a daily basis. The study was financed as part of a larger project on the “Promotion of Multi-Stakeholder Projects for Sustainable Textile Supply Chains” on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The overarching project contributes to the sustainable development of global supply chains in the textile and garment industry. It supports cooperation between private, public and civil society actors to improve the living and working conditions of workers in garment supply chains in partner countries of the German Development Cooperation. The programme also supports initiatives promoting relevant approaches or concepts that are being developed in the partner countries as well as activities of special strategic importance.

To identify potentials for circular approaches to textile and garment production in Jordan, adelphi thoroughly researched the target region. Extensive desk research and interviews with stakeholder representatives in Jordan lead to realistic estimates of the real quantities and composition of RMG waste being deposited at landfills in Irbid. In addition, adelphi assessed the root causes of RMG waste generation and analysed the framework conditions that affect the generation of industrial RMG waste. On this basis, the project team suggested specific interventions to further support the transition towards a circular economy in the Jordanian RMG sector. Potential follow-up activities may include propagating and scaling up waste minimisation at the factory level, promoting waste segregation at the estate and cluster level (possibly in connection with existing initiatives), interesting local entrepreneurs in remanufacturing and upcycling opportunities using fabric wastes and promoting repurposing of fabric waste in the furniture and building sectors. These interventions do not only align with Jordan's national strategies on sustainable consumption and production as well as greening the economy but also offer opportunities for skill and employment development in line with Jordan's National Employment-Technical and Vocational Education and Training Strategy.