MEPs attack fast fashion by tackling textile waste

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As the French government attempts to restrict fast-fashion companies, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are pursuing their own agendas and addressing the problem of textile waste.

A plan intended to make the fashion sector pay for the collection, sorting, and recycling of unwanted and worn fabrics, clothing, and shoes was put to a vote by the European Parliament on March 13. 12.6 million tons of textile waste are produced annually in the EU alone. Globally, only 1% of textiles that have outlived their usefulness are reportedly recycled.

The bill addresses food waste in addition to textile waste, and considering the massive amount of clothing and fabrics that fashion businesses are importing into the EU, fast fashion is a major worry for EU parliamentarians. The bill was earlier cleared by committee before it was passed on Wednesday by a vote of 514 to 20. The 27 member nations of the EU will now discuss the proposed legislation.

According to the bill, the expenses of collecting, sorting, and recycling waste will be borne by anyone selling textiles and textile products inside the EU. Rather than 30 months as suggested by the EU Commission, this duty will take effect 18 months after the directive is put into effect. The products that include rubber, plastic, faux leather, clothing and fashion accessories, blankets and bed linens, curtains, hats, shoes, mattresses, and rugs are all subject to the new regulations.

“We want to incorporate non-domestic items, carpets and mattresses, as well as products that are sold online,” stated Anna Zalewska, a Polish MEP who serves as the EU Parliament’s textiles rapporteur. The next Parliament will put the measure into effect after the June 6–9 EU elections.

Now, attention is focused on potential modifications to the measure in the upcoming months. Governments in France (via ReFashion), Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland have previously passed laws requiring companies who commercialize clothing and textiles to pay for the goods’ collection at the end of their useful lives using a variety of methods. How much these various national measures will be considered by future EU law is still to be seen.


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Mia Collins

Mia's love for beauty innovation and her insights into modern lifestyle choices make her the go-to writer for readers seeking to stay ahead of the style curve.

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