New EU textiles strategy: tougher rules for fashion industry


New EU textiles strategy sees clothing sold in Europe longer-lasting, easier to repair, and its journey to point of sale traceable, under the proposal by the EU Commission.

The Commission is presenting the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles aimed at making 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 move is part of the EU Green Deal which proposes 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.

New EU textiles strategy

Manufacturers will have to ensure their clothes are eco-friendly and long-lasting and consumers will be given more information on how to reuse, repair and recycle clothing.

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.

Consumers will benefit longer from high-quality textiles, fast fashion should be out of fashion, and economically profitable re-use and repair services should be widely available.

In a competitive, resilient and innovative textiles sector, producers have to take responsibility for their products along the value chain, including when they become waste. In this way, the circular textiles ecosystem will be thriving, and be driven by sufficient capacities for innovative fibre-to-fibre recycling, while the incineration and landfilling of textiles has to be reduced to the minimum.

The specific measures will include eco-design requirements for textiles, clearer information, a Digital Product Passport and a mandatory EU extended producer responsibility scheme.

The European Textiles Association (EURATEX) said it welcomed the EU ambitions to act on sustainable textiles and investments, in order to change how textiles are made, chosen and recovered and said many businesses have already taken the steps to prepare for it. But it called for sensible and realistic implementation.

“The Textile strategy is part of much broader package, including as many as 16 new legislative actions and other policies which will directly impact on textile value chain. In particular the Sustainable Product Initiative Regulation released today includes game-changing provisions on Digital Product Passport, Eco-Design, SMEs and Green Public Procurement.  The regulation has an overwhelming ambition and, to be realistic, it would require a new way of joint working between institutions and business, and which builds on lessons learned on data flow across value chains, interoperability, conformity assessment and effective measures to support SMEs.”

To read more about the new EU textiles strategy, click here.