The European Union has finally approved a ban on destroying unsold clothing. The new rules will also ensure products are more environmentally friendly and are also more easily repaired and recycled.
The rules aim to crack down on the impact of “fast fashion” and reduce waste. In this regard, negotiators from the European Parliament and EU member states agreed to stop large retail groups from destroying unsold clothes and footwear.
The EU is trying to address European textile consumption, which has the fourth highest impact on the environment and climate change after food, housing, and transport. The ban will, in principle, be effective after two years for large businesses. However, the period is extended up to six years for medium-sized companies, and more minor size concerns
This ban would make products longer-lasting and more accessible to reuse, repair, and recycle, reducing the consumption of resources such as energy and water. A member of the European Parliament stated that it is time to end the model of ‘take, make, dispose of’ that is so harmful to our planet, our health and our economy. He said new products will be designed to benefit all, respect our planet, and protect the environment.
Meanwhile, the Commission has been authorized to ban other unsold products beyond clothing and footwear, though the EU parliament has not finalized the details of the requirements of individual products.
The agreement outlined that the European Commission can issue legally binding requirements to make goods such as furniture, tires, detergents, paints, and chemicals more environmentally friendly.
Goods must also be sold with a “digital product passport,” which could be a QR code, to help consumers make informed choices about their purchases. However, numerous raw materials such as iron, steel, and aluminum are also to be regulated accordingly in future. Exceptions are planned for goods such as cars and military products.