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EuRIC Position on EPR Schemes for Textiles

Nowadays, our clothes are discarded and replaced by new items faster than ever before. According to a report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), Europeans have purchased more clothing for less money over recent years due to the fast fashion phenomenon which promotes increased consumption and reduces the life span of clothing. For example, in Bulgaria the quantity of new textile products and footwear placed on the market has increased by about 122% in seven years (Denkstatt Bulgaria – Regulatory Impact Assessment of EPR for Shoes and Textiles in Bulgaria - Extended Summary Report).

The fast fashion trend, combined with the separate collection requirement for textiles by 2025 will automatically further increase the number of textiles collected. Currently, the collection of textiles is financed by revenues generated by the preparation for re-use and the marketing of second-hand textiles. However, in the future with an increase of separately collected textiles and a further drop in quality – due to lower quality products placed onto the market originally – the revenues generated will not be sufficient to cover all costs associated with the collection, sorting and recycling. Therefore, it is essential that markets for and the use of recycled textiles’ fibers are developed resp. incentivized while the markets for second-hand clothing are being maintained.

Setting up Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the field of textiles for producers and importers of new clothing, in line with the minimum requirements set in the Waste Framework Directive, would be welcomed by the textiles’ re-use and recycling industry only if it helps bridging the design and theend-of-life treatment stages. EPR should also support the existing system of re-use which is the largest activity of the textile recycling industry as well as the demand for recycled fibers.