EPR scheme will bring fashion and textile industry into its scope

The global Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is set to make fashion and clothing brands responsible for the full lie cycle of textile products, according to Reconomy.

Reconomy head of voluntary compliance and EPR expert James Beard said rates of recycling in the textile industry are “low” despite being “recognised as having the fourth biggest impact on the environment and climate change, and the third biggest impact on water and land use.”

There are various EPR schemes for textiles already in place across many European countries and the European Union (EU) is now proposing to introduce mandatory and harmonised EPR schemes for textiles across all its Member States.

Beard states that similar programmes are likely to be introduced in the UK.

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“UK-based businesses, who may think they have the benefit of time, should consider how schemes in other regions will impact their business,” he warned.

“You can only manage what you can measure and data holds the key to understanding, engaging and complying with the regulations.

“Companies need an in-depth knowledge of the materials they are using to divert textiles from landfill and therefore achieve the economic and sustainability benefits that EPR aims to harness,” he added.

During an evidence session for the Environmental Audit Committee,  the Secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) Thérèse Coffey was asked about the possibility of expanding EPR to include textiles, as reported by Circular Online.

Coffey said that she cannot say right now that she’s going to include textiles into EPR in the “near future” and that the focus must be on ensuring the policy is in place for packaging.

The Committee’s Chair Conservative MP Philip Dunne said they were disappointed with Coffey’s response. Dunne said it would be “very disappointing” if Defra did not consult on including textiles in EPR.

To help the industry become more sustainable outside of EPR schemes, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has funded £6 million into three complementary teams of researchers, working in partnership with industry experts and other stakeholders to support the industry in adopting sustainable circular fashion business models.

Circular economyMaterials and packagingNewsRetailSupply Chain

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