The European Waste Management Association (FEAD) has announced its “strong support” for the European Union’s (EU) Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, which was announced at the end of last month.
FEAD says that it supports the introduction of policies such as binding product specific ecodesign requirements to increase durability, reusability, repairability, fibre-to-fibre recyclability and the introduction of mandatory recycled fibre content.
It also called for “significant efforts” in research and innovation in textile recycling, especially fibre-to-fibre recycling, within the next few years. It expects mandatory requirements on recycled content will trigger the investments needed here.
FEAD said it also expected that mandatory criteria for the green public procurement of textiles would help increase both the recyclability of textiles and the purchase of recycled textiles.
The EU textiles strategy includes a mandatory extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme, with eco-modulation of fees which FEAD says will help incentivise the separate collection, sorting, reuse, preparation for reuse and recycling for textile waste.
The waste body highlights textile-to-textile recycling as a key strategy for saving resources in the sector, “preserving the value of materials and fostering a circular economy”.
Developing a market for recycled textiles would be essential to overcome the trend for ‘fast fashion’, which FEAD said was a major hurdle to increasing textile recycling within the EU.
FEAD is also urging the EU to set up an “effective control mechanism for the exports of used textiles” to avoid illegal shipments and ensure environmentally sound recycling and recovery processes outside the EU.
It says that specific EU-level criteria needs to be developed to make a distinction between waste and secondhand textile products, to avoid waste streams being falsely labelled as secondhand goods when exported from the EU.
The EU’s Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles aims to make textiles more durable, repairable, reusable and recyclable; to tackle fast fashion, textile waste and the destruction of unsold textiles; and to ensure that production respects human rights.
Measures include a mandatory EU extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme, ecodesign requirements for textile products, action to tackle microfibre pollution and greenwashing, and a new ‘digital product passport’.