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STRASBOURG – European Parliament has backed ambitious circular economy proposals which will mean waste textiles from households will have to be collected separately by 2025. New EU proposals, which have set targets for recycling, food waste, textiles and packaging, have cleared a significant hurdle after MEPs voted in favour of the Circular Economy Package in Strasbourg.

The four pieces of legislation, which constitute the Circular Economy package, aim to shift EU policy and supply chains towards a closed loop system, whereby the value of products is maintained throughout their lifecycle. Having been approved by MEPs, the package must now go back to the EU Council of Ministers for final formal approval.

Alongside requiring 55 per cent of all municipal waste to be recycled by 2025, and 65 per cent by 2035, the targets outline that no more than 10 per cent of municipal waste should go to landfill by 2035. There will be separate collections for textiles, bio-waste and hazardous waste, and objectives such as reducing food waste by 50 per cent in the EU will also be introduced in line with UN sustainable development goals.

It is hoped the new legislation will enable more effective support of the ethos of the waste hierarchy, with a mandatory extended producer responsibility (EPR) scheme to be established for all packaging by 2025. This will extend the producer’s responsibility for a product to the post-consumer stage of its lifecycle.

Editor’s comment: this is a welcome step by the EU and we expect these proposals to be ratified by the Council of Ministers. While details around textile recycling are not fully clear at time of writing, separate collections for textiles from households is a very interesting step which, surely, will encourage consumers to think more carefully about the issue of textile waste. This also helps address the issue of collection, sorting and textile waste streams in general – all of which need to be considered as the apparel industry looks to close the loop in textiles.

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