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Commission sets out EPR goal for textiles

The European Commission has proposed an extended producer responsibility (EPR) regime for textile products to tackle the exceptionally low levels of recycling in the industry.

New rules, yet to be approved by the European Parliament or Council, will make producers responsible for the full lifecycle of textile products and support the sustainable management of textile waste across the EU. The plan is to amend the Waste Framework Directive.

‘This initiative will accelerate the development of the separate collection, sorting, reuse and recycling sector for textiles in the EU, in line with the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles,’ a news release says. ‘Increasing the availability of used textiles is expected to create local jobs and save money for consumers in the EU and beyond, while alleviating the impacts of textile production on natural resources.’

Innovative technologies

Insisting producers cover the costs of waste management should incentivise them to reduce waste and increase the circularity of textile products, designing better products from the start. Their contributions will finance investments into separate collection, sorting, reuse and recycling capacities.

The proposal will also promote research and development into innovative technologies for the circularity of the textiles sector, such as fibre-to-fibre recycling. It also addresses the issue of illegal exports of textile waste to countries ill-equipped to manage it. The new law would clarify what constitutes waste and what is considered reusable textiles, to stop the practice of exports of waste disguised as for reuse.

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