Starting gun fired for clothes producers to prepare for EPR – Reconomy



According to Reconomy, textile brands should take early action to understand their current footprint and scope out future steps in preparation for the roll-out of textile EPR schemes.

There are various EPR schemes for textiles already in place across several European countries and the European Union (EU) has proposed introducing mandatory and harmonised EPR schemes for textiles across all its Member States.

Reconomy also highlights that California recently postponed its textile recycling legislation until next year but the State looks set to implement the USA’s first form of EPR scheme for the industry.

Earlier this year (2023), climate action NGO (non-governmental organisation) WRAP recommended that the UK government adopt an EPR scheme for the fashion and textiles industry. Reconomy claims the “importance of the European market” for many UK producers could necessitate legislative alignment with the EU’s plans.

Reconomy says textile companies should be taking steps to understand their current footprint, where they need to get to and the processes required to get there. The company says data will be key for producers to get a clear view of their operations and measure improvements.

Globally, the direction of regulatory travel suggests EPR schemes are likely to be extended across different geographies

James Beard, Head of Voluntary Compliance and EPR expert at Valpak by Reconomy, commented: “The textiles industry is recognised as having the fourth biggest impact on the environment and climate change, and the third biggest impact on water and land use – yet rates of recycling are low

“Globally, the direction of regulatory travel suggests EPR schemes are likely to be extended across different geographies. The textiles industry is now firmly in the EU’s spotlight with schemes already up and running in many member states and similar programmes are likely to be introduced in the UK and US.

“This has fired the starting gun for businesses and brands across the textiles industry to start thinking about their current footprint, where they need to get and the steps they will take to ensure compliance with these regulations. Even UK-based businesses, who may think they have the benefit of time, should consider how EPR schemes in other regions will impact their business.”

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.

The Secretary of State 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.

Beard concluded: “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.”

Send this to a friend