The European Union hopes to shift to a climate-neutral, circular economy where clothing products are designed to be more durable, reusable, repairable and recyclable. The recently released roadmap covers the wider textile and clothing ecosystems, extending to fur, leather and wool. The strategy aims at tackling overproduction and overconsumption. Textiles, the fourth highest-pressure category for using primary raw materials and water, are responsible for plastic pollution and excessive textile waste. Low-quality materials, which are the backbone of fast fashion, are the main hurdle for boosting textile recycling.
The coronavirus has hindered textile reuse and disrupted the second-hand markets for clothing - one of the few efficient ways to deal with unwanted clothing. Trying to help the sector from the effects of covid, the EU is also setting up conditions: working according to the circular economy principles, boosting environment efforts and improving traceability and transparency. With this policymakers hope to make textile and apparel supply chains more resilient and more sustainable.
This shift from the make-take-dispose model that dominates across the fashion sector requires supporting small and medium enterprises, representing a big part of the EU textile sector, to provide better repair and remanufacture services. Synthetic material use has increased nine-fold in the last 50 years.