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Environmental Protection

Circular Economy: new plans for the textile industries

The European Commission encourages the restart of the textile sector after the pandemic through green measures

Between 2000 and 2015, the textile sector duplicated its production, while the current trend is expected to increase by 63% by 2030. These increases are positives for economy, but they are also a concern for European Community, as the textile sector is among the most impacting on the environment and climate. The textile sector is the fourth sector to have a negative impact on the environment and climate and the third on water consumption.

These negative impacts have their roots in a linear model characterized by low rates of use, reuse, repair, and recycling of textile fibres and which often does not pose quality, durability, and recyclability as a priority for clothing design and production.

For these reasons the European Community wants to reconfigure textile sector to promote the post-COVID-19 restart not only for innovation but also for sustainability and circular economy.

According to the Commission, regulatory initiatives shall aim to reduce carbon emissions from the textile industry, generate bio-based fabrics, use more resistant fabrics, encourage reuse or recycling (in this respect, the Commission has encouraged Member States to apply favourable taxation to the repair and re-use sector).

The measures that Europe must adopt to achieve its objectives are listed in the Annex of the European Commission document "EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles", among the main concrete activities we find:

 

  • the introduction of mandatory requirements for the environmental sustainability of textiles by 2024;
  • the introduction of a digital passport with information requirements on environmental sustainability (2024);
  • request of disclosure of the number of discarded products by large companies and their subsequent treatment, rules to prohibit the destruction of unsold textile products (2024);
  • revision of the Textile Labelling Regulation and consideration on the introduction of a digital label (2023)
  • implement the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive in the textile sector as of 2023;
  • revision of the EU Ecolabel criteria for textiles and footwear by 2024.

These actions, in line with the new European Circular Economy Plan, will lead to reduce the environmental impact of the textile sector by 2030.

European citizens will have to adopt more responsible behaviour, that is why it is essential to monitor the situation in order to apply the right actions in everyday life as well. 

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