EU green public procurement (GPP) criteria is designed to make it easier for public authorities to purchase goods, services and works with reduced environmental impacts

EU green public procurement (GPP) criteria is designed to make it easier for public authorities to purchase goods, services and works with reduced environmental impacts

Authorities in the European Union are being urged to reduce the environmental impacts of textiles used in public sector uniforms, with new guidelines to encourage the uptake of contain sustainable and recycled materials.

New criteria set out in the voluntary Green Public Procurement (GPP) initiative for textile products and services are aimed at reducing environmental impacts of textiles and their costs – particularly  in the uniforms of military, police and hospital staff.

It urges Europe's public authorities to purchase textiles that contain recycled materials or are made from fibres that are produced using less fertilisers, hazardous pesticides and production chemicals; purchase fabrics that do not shrink during use, that are constructed to be more durable in use and have longer-lasting functional coatings; and to purchase textiles or textile services that minimise the energy used to wash, dry and iron textiles.

Other suggestions include using contract services that maintain textiles in order to extend their lifetime, or those which maximise the potential for re-use and recycling of textiles at the end of life phase.

The criteria for textile products encompasses textile clothing and accessories; textile fibres, yarn, fabric and knitted panels, including intermediate products intended for use in textile clothing and accessories; and non-fibre elements, such as intermediate products that are to be incorporated into textile clothing and accessories. This includes zips, buttons and other accessories, as well as membranes, coatings and laminates that form part of the structure of clothing.

Meanwhile, textile fibres comprise natural fibres, synthetic fibres and man-made cellulose fibres. The scope of textile fibres for which GPP criteria are provided is natural fibres, such as cotton and other natural cellulosic seed fibres, wool and other keratin fibres; synthetic fibres, including polyamide and polyester; and man-made cellulose fibres, including lyocell, Modal and viscose.