Defra is being called upon to reduce textile waste

Defra is being called upon to reduce textile waste

A parliamentary report in the UK has suggested that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) should consult manufacturers about greener textile products to counter the environmental effects of fast fashion.

Defra is being urged to address the "Primark effect", which has resulted in significant increases in the amount of clothing being sent to landfill sites, according to the cross-party Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Select Committee's Waste Strategy for England 2007 report.

The committee is now demanding standards and criteria for assessing the overall environmental impacts of different kinds of textiles so that more sustainable materials can be promoted.

It also criticised the Government for a lack of targets related to industrial and commercial waste, and said Defra's 2007 Strategy and follow up reports were "long on rhetoric but short on a detailed action plan".

Chairman of the committee, the Rt Hon Michael Jack MP, said: "Defra must give a clear lead on what it thinks the potential is for business to reduce its waste levels and increase its rates of recycling.

"At the same time it must encourage companies to take a completely new view of waste and see it as a valuable source of raw material which must not be squandered in these difficult economic times."

The committee said that Government knowledge of commercial and industrial recycling rates is "patchy and outdated", with most attention on improving recycling rates in the domestic sector, which accounts for only 10% of England's waste.

The EFRA committee's report praises householders for increasing their recycling levels to nearly 37% though.