The UK Government’s Waste Prevention Programme plans could help to deliver a more sustainable fashion industry

Following the announcement by the UK Government of its intention to consult stakeholders by the end of 2022 on options for textiles, such as an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme, the Textile Recycling Association is calling upon stakeholders from across the UK clothing supply chain to rally round and work together to deliver a truly robust and sustainable UK fashion and textile industry.

“This statement by the UK Government is very welcome” said Alan Wheeler, Director of the UK’s Textile Recycling Association.  “The huge environmental impact associated with the fashion and textile industry has become increasingly clear over the last decade or so and the current business model of take, make, consume and dispose is simply not sustainable.   If we are serious about tackling climate change and the other problems such as water scarcity, tackling water pollution and micro-fibres release in our seas and oceans, we need to make significant interventions in the current business models that benefit sustainable practices and give them a business advantage over those that refuse to act.  EPR and the other business models that are being considered could go some way to achieving this.”

As well consulting on EPR, the Textile Recycling Association welcomes the proposals to look at whether minimum standards can be set for clothing on durability and recycled content and to improve labelling and consumer information on clothing.

The quality of clothing, particularly since the explosion of fast fashion in the 21st, has been an area of increasing concern for re-use and recycling businesses. The current markets for recycling grades are small in size and low in value.  It is value of re-usable clothing that keeps this sector going, but with fast fashion expanding, the ratio of re-use to recycling grades has shifted significantly and this put pressure on profit margins.  By setting minimum standards to ensure that clothing lasts longer and that it is designed for recycling in mind, this could help address some of these issues. At the same time, if mandatory targets for the inclusion of recycled content in garments can be agreed and actually achieved, this will stimulate demand for recycling grades. This in turn would improve the values for these grades, making their collection and processing more viable.

Alan Wheeler then went on to say “The Textile Recycling Association looks forward to working with the Government and our partners in the clothing supply chain, including the signatories and supporters of Textiles 2030.   By taking a collective and collaborative approach, I am confident that we can put together some globally leading robust business models that sustainable clothing and textile actors will support and be able to work with.  This will help to substantially reduce the carbon and water impacts of the sector and deliver a substantially circular economy supply chain.   I also hope that the sector will be in a position to showcase the progress we are making to the world when the UK host the COP26 UN Climate Change Summit in November”.


About Textiles 2030

Textiles 2030 is the UK’s new voluntary, expert-led initiative, harnessing the knowledge and expertise of UK leaders in sustainability to accelerate the whole fashion and textiles industry’s move towards circularity and system change in the UK.

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Further Information

Government unveils plans for wide ranging waste prevention programme