The European Union (EU) is looking to enact new policies to phase out “fast fashion” to reduce the amount of clothing waste among member states and encourage manufacturers to create lasting products.
The EU strategy has set a target of 2030 to implement changes that will see textile and clothing products placed on the market in the bloc to be both fully recyclable and have a long lifespan, in order to cut down on the estimated 15lbs of clothing waste per person per year.
“Companies will need to change their business models and it will be much easier for consumers to be able to choose the sustainable garment over another,” Yvonne Augustsson, a textile expert at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency said, broadcaster SVT reports.
“Textiles are a priority issue at the EU level because they have a major climate and environmental impact,” Augustsson said and added, “the zipper breaks, the garment twists or loses colour. These are reasons why many people get rid of clothes before they are worn out.”
“The solution is to use the garments that are already made, but for a longer period of time. If we double the usage time, we halve the climate impact, provided that we do not buy a new garment during the same time,” she said.
According to Augustsson, a single t-shirt requires 2,500 litres of water and around a pound of chemicals to manufacture, while creating between 4 to 17 lbs of greenhouse emissions regardless if the garment is worn once or hundreds of times.
The clothing strategy is just a part of the European Union’s green agenda, which was expanded upon by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last month at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
President von der Leyen spoke of the “Net-Zero Industry Act” which looks to push green investment into various parts of European industry.
“The aim will be to focus investment on strategic projects along the entire supply chain,” she said and added, “We will especially look at how to simplify and fast-track permitting for new clean-tech production sites.”