EU Parliament Adopts Rules Targeting Fast Fashion by Making Producers Pay to Recycle Textiles – ESG Today

EU Parliament Adopts Rules Targeting Fast Fashion by Making Producers Pay to Recycle Textiles – ESG Today

Lawmakers in the European Parliament voted 514-20 today to adopt a series of proposals aimed at reducing waste from the textiles and food sectors, including requiring fashion brands and textile producers to pay for the collection and recycling of clothing and footwear, and setting binding food waste reduction targets for EU member states.

He vote marks the adoption by Parliament of its position on the European Commission’s proposed revision of the Waste Framework, unveiled by the Commission in July 2023, aimed at reducing the environmental and climate impacts of the textile and food sectors, which it identified as two of the top resource intensive sectors causing significant negative environmental externalities.

According to the Commission, the EU generates 12.6 million tonnes of textile waste per year, including 5.2 million tonnes of clothing and footwear, while only 22% of post-consumer textile waste is collected separately for re-use or recycling, with the remainder often landfilled or incinerated. Additionally, nearly 59 million tonnes of food are wasted in the EU each year with estimated market value of €132 billion.

In its proposal, the Commission noted the exacerbating impact of fast fashion on the creation of textile waste, which places low-priced products on the market which do not internalize environmental externalities in the cost, and encourage higher volume clothing purchases. The new proposed rules adopted by MEPs would extend producer responsibility (EPR) schemes, currently used to manage waste from packaging, batteries and electric and electronic equipment, to include textiles, requiring producers to cover the costs for collecting, sorting and recycling them separately. Products covered by the new requirements would include clothing and accessories, blankets, bed linen, curtains, hats, footwear, mattresses and carpets, including products that contain textile-related materials such as leather, composition leather, rubber or plastic.

The text adopted by MEPs also strengthens the food waste proposals set out by the Commission, requiring member states to implement 2030 targets to reduce waste by at least 20% in food processing and manufacturing, and 40% per capita in retail, restaurants, food services and households, compared with the Commission’s proposals for 10% and 30% reductions, respectively. MEPs also requested that the Commission evaluate the introduction of targets of 30% and 50%, respectively, for 2035.

Parliament’s Rapporteur Anna Zalewska said:

“Parliament has come up with targeted solutions to reduce food waste, such as promoting “ugly” fruits and veggies, keeping an eye on unfair market practices, clarifying date labelling and donating unsold-but-consumable food. For textiles, we also want to include non-household products, carpets and mattresses, as well as sales via online platforms.”

Related Articles