Croatian cooperative Humana Nova gives used clothing a new life, and its members a new dream to fulfill

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Ivan Božić
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Ivan Božić

Social Cooperative Humana Nova Čakovec is a leader in social entrepreneurship at local and also regional level.

Humana Nova encourages the employment of disabled and other socially excluded people for the production and sale of quality and innovative textile products made from ecological and recycled fabrics for local and regional markets.

Its products respond to the actual needs of users. In so doing the cooperative actively contributes to the sustainable development of the local community, poverty reduction and nature conservation.

Used clothing is mostly collected in North-Western Croatia and sorted in a Humana Nova production facility according to the following criteria:

  • clean and whole clothing is sent to the green warestore Čakovec for resale at affordable prices (4 EUR/kg);
  • clean and partially whole clothing is sent to sewers for refinement, then sold at the warestore;
  • incomplete clothes are turned into new products (bags etc.);
  • worn and stained clothing are recycled as industrial rags;
  • unusable textiles and waste are passed on to recycling plants to make insulation material;
  • insulation material is used for packaging.
Main results

According to Humana Nova, the collection, sorting and recycling of textiles have the following impact:

  • reduced landfill disposal, which directly affects climate (e.g. woolen clothing does not decompose, but produces methane);
  • reduced textile production;
  • reduced impact of transportation on environmental pollution, as clothing is mostly collected, sorted and distributed locally;
  • less burden on household budgets due to less expensive textile products and clothing.

Results reached so far:

  • 340.000 kg of clothing and footwear collected in 2019, 2.000 tonnes collected in the past 5 years;
  • 30 employees (19 with disabilities, 2 Roma, 5 long-term unemployed women, 1 low-educated woman, 1 single mother, and 1 manager with an economics degree).