EU set to Tackle Fast Fashion in Bid to Make Sustainable Products the Norm
The European Commission has presented a new strategy to make textiles more durable, repairable, reusable and recyclable, to tackle fast fashion, textile waste and the destruction of unsold textiles, and ensure their production takes place in full respect of social rights.
The proposal is part of a package of European Green Deal proposals to make sustainable products the norm in the EU, boost circular business models and empower consumers for the green transition.
As announced in the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Commission is proposing new rules to make almost all physical goods on the EU market more friendly to the environment, circular, and energy efficient throughout their whole lifecycle from the design phase through to daily use, repurposing and end-of-life.
European consumption of textiles has the fourth highest impact on the environment and climate change, after food, housing and mobility. It is also the third highest area of consumption for water and land use, and fifth highest for the use of primary raw materials.
The proposals build on the success of EU’s existing Ecodesign rules, which have brought remarkable reductions in EU’s energy consumption and significant savings to consumers. In 2021 alone, existing ecodesign requirements saved consumers €120 billion. The rules have also led to a 10% lower annual energy consumption by the products in scope.
The EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles sets out the vision and concrete actions to ensure that by 2030 textile products placed on the EU market are long-lived and recyclable, made as much as possible of recycled fibres, free of hazardous substances and produced in respect of social rights and the environment.
The strategy aims for consumers to benefit longer from high quality textiles, make fast fashion a thing of the past, and make it economically profitable to re-use and make repair services widely available.
The vision for a competitive, resilient and innovative textiles sector, will see producers having to take responsibility for their products along the value chain, including when they become waste. The expected outcome is a thriving circular textiles ecosystem, driven by sufficient capacities for innovative fibre-to-fibre recycling, while the incineration and landfilling of textiles will be reduced to the minimum.
Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans said, “It’s time to end the model of ‘take, make, break, and throw away’ that is so harmful to our planet, our health and our economy. Today’s proposals will ensure that only the most sustainable products are sold in Europe. They allow consumers to save energy, repair and not replace broken products, and make smart environmental choices when they are shopping for new ones. This is how we bring balance back in our relationship with nature and reduce our vulnerability to disruptions in global supply chains.”
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