Multiplying textile lives. Textile collection and recycling in urban Africa

  • Moritz Kasper Technische Universität of Dortmund (Germany)
  • Elmar Stroomer ACT - Africa Collect Textiles Ltd
Keywords: textile waste, urban Africa, recycling, circular economy, sustainability


Worldwide, an estimated 60 billion kilos of textiles and footwear is burned or landfilled every year. Although African countries – including powerhouses such as Kenya and Nigeria – contribute very little to global textile waste, their textile consumption is on the rise. And with increased consumption comes an increased urgency for concepts and designs that utilize textile resources beyond linear lines and singular lives. Africa Collect Textiles was founded in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013, where it has successfully implemented a model for collecting and processing used textiles. Based on fieldwork in Lagos, Nigeria and the extensive experience in Nairobi, this paper will discuss spatial contexts, socio-cultural potentials, and economic modes relevant for adjusting and implementing a textile collection and recycling initiative in urban Africa.

Author Biographies

Moritz Kasper, Technische Universität of Dortmund (Germany)

M.Sc. Urban Design, currently based at Technische Universität of Dortmund (Germany), is a Doctoral Researcher and Consultant with interest in heterogeneous, socio-technical realities of the urban everyday. Over the past ten years, he has engaged in in-depth research and research-design-transfers for international organizations, NGOs, governmental entities, and others in Europe and Africa.

Elmar Stroomer, ACT - Africa Collect Textiles Ltd

M.Sc. Industrial Design, is an Expert in sustainable design, technology, and textile sectors, with understanding of emerging economies and innovations for new markets. In 2013, he founded ACT in Kenya, before setting up a studio for Design without Borders in Uganda and working on product design projects in the Netherlands. Currently, he is largely focused on his work with ACT. E-mail:


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Re-designed collection bins; Shoemaker in Nairobi working together with ACT on shoes from re- cycled denim and cut-offs (credits: E. Stroomer, 2021, 2017). AGATHÓN 09 | 2021
How to Cite
Kasper, M. and Stroomer, E. (2021) “Multiplying textile lives. Textile collection and recycling in urban Africa”, AGATHÓN | International Journal of Architecture, Art and Design, 9(online), pp. 224-231. doi: 10.19229/2464-9309/9222021.
Design | Research & Experimentation
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