The EuRIC believes that to prevent the collapse of the textile reuse and recycling industry across the continent swift action is needed including:

  1. A push for supportive EPR schemes under the revised Waste Framework Directive (WFD),
  2. Green public procurement measures,
  3. Setting mandatory recycled content in textile products,
  4. Introducing recyclability through the eco-design regulation (ESPR). ESPR is key to stimulating demand for recycled material, encourages sustainable practices and ensures the viability of the textile recycling industry.

Increasing costs, declining sales due to fierce competition and legislative gaps are what EuRIC say is putting our reusable textile resources and the circular economy “at risk.”

The trade body admitted a combination of unsold second-hand clothing stemming from a global drop in sales and lacking business models for recycling, poses a risk of discarded textiles being sent directly to incineration without being reused or recycled.

“The prospect of incineration becoming the only remaining option if sorting discarded textiles becomes financially unviable is deeply alarming,” said Mariska Boer the president of EuRIC’s textiles branch.

“All industry efforts to create a sustainable textile value chain in a circular economy would be in vain when textiles can no longer be collected and sorted in Europe. When second-hand clothing can no longer be supplied to countries that depend on it, this will have a massive economic impact both locally and within the EU.”

In January, a life-cycle assessment (LCA) commissioned by EURIC on behalf of the European textile reuse and recycling industry suggested secondhand clothing had a 70 times lower environmental impact and called for initiatives to accelerate investments in global textile recycling facilities.

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