The new European Commission Decisions refer to the management and treatment of waste gas in the chemical sector and a series of activities in the textile industry.

The new EU Industrial Emissions Directive is aimed at reducing air, water and soil pollution to levels harmless to health and the environment.

While existing facilities will have four years to adapt, new facilities will be expected to comply immediately.

It is another step by the European Commission towards the ‘Zero Pollution ambition’ which is one of the Green Deal’s headline actions on pollution, among a series of initiatives aiming to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. The new norms, together with the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, aim to increase the level of protection of human health and the environment while boosting the competitiveness of industry.

In March last year, the EU Commission proposed 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.

In the case of the textile sector, the environmental legislative changes concern in particular the wet processing of textiles, which include treatments such as bleaching, dyeing or finishing treatment to give specific properties to the textile, like water repellence. The new norm is part of the EU strategy for sustainable and circular textiles which aims to create a greener, more competitive textiles sector.

The new norm for the textile sector has a particular emphasis on emissions to air and to water and targets over 20 air and water pollutants including formaldehyde, total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), dust, as well as ammonia for emissions to air, or metals for emissions to water. The new norm focuses also on environmental issues relevant to circular economy – including energy efficiency and resource efficiency (water consumption, chemicals consumption, waste generation). It also promotes more sustainable industrial production through the substitution of chemicals that are hazardous, harmful or have a high environmental impact by introducing an approach underpinned by a chemical management system.