Despite waste prevention being a key objective of the WFD and the implementation efforts at national level including by private actors, general waste generation continues to increase. This trend for overall waste can also be observed for textile waste.
It is, however, getting worse due to so-called ‘fast fashion’, which is characterized by more frequent fashion collections being placed on the market with low-priced products that do not internalize environmental externalities, encourage customers to shop impulsively and incentivizes purchasing larger quantities of clothes. This increasing textile consumption leads to increasing volumes of textile waste.
Calculation models found out that the average textile waste per person per year in the EU is 12 kg. Most of this waste, around 78%, ends up in mixed household waste and will therefore be incinerated or end up on a landfill. The EU says: no more.
Under EU rules on waste, Member States are required to set up separate collection of textiles by 1 January 2025. For this to happen, separate collection, sorting, re-use and recycling capacities within the EU have to be strengthened. This requires significant investments to build infrastructure, and to develop new technological solutions.
In particular, the Commission is proposing to introduce mandatory and harmonized Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes for textiles in all EU Member States. EPR schemes require producers to take responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their products, in particular at the end of the product’s life. Under the proposal, the level of the financial contributions of the producers will be based on the circularity and environmental performance of textile products (referred to as "eco-modulation").
Consequences for producers
Such a proposal entails that, identical as for example WEEE, Batteries and Packaging, producers must declare their products in scope per country they are sold in. A huge advantage in comparison to those types of products is that this system will be harmonized and therefore, obligations should be very similar per country. Still, this will be yet another trade compliance obligation which must be managed.
That’s where we come in! Stay tuned for a more detailed update on how and what very soon!
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Source: European Council - Amendment to Waste Framework Directive
Joris te Pas
Environmental Compliance Specialist
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