Textiles are the fourth highest-pressure category for the use of primary raw materials and water, after food, housing and transport, and fifth for GHG emissions. It is estimated that less than 1% of all textiles worldwide are recycled into new textiles. The EU textile sector, predominantly composed of SMEs, has started to recover after a long period of restructuring, while 60% by value of clothing in the EU is produced elsewhere.
EU Strategy for sustainable products
As part of a larger circular economy package, the Commission adopted a comprehensive EU strategy for textiles on 30 March 2022. It aims at sustainability, circularity, industrial competitiveness and innovation.
- Sustainable Textiles Strategy website
- Publication on EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles
- Factsheet on Textiles Strategy
- Questions and Answers on Textiles Strategy
- Survey on the Transition Pathway for the textile ecosystem
- Co-creation of a transition pathway for the textiles ecosystem
- Press release
In light of the complexity of the textile value chain, we proposed a comprehensive EU strategy for textiles-based industry and stakeholder input to respond to these challenges. The strategy focuses on strengthening industrial competitiveness and innovation in the sector. In turn, this will boost the EU market for sustainable and circular textiles, including the market for textile reuse, address fast fashion and drive new business models. Among others, the following set of measures are employed towards these goals.
The new sustainable product framework
Applying this framework includes
- developing ecodesign measures to ensure that textile products are fit for circularity
- ensuring the uptake of secondary raw materials
- tackling the presence of hazardous chemicals
- empowering business and private consumers to choose sustainable textiles and get easy access to reuse and repair services
Better business and regulatory environment for sustainable and circular textiles in the EU
In particular, we will provide incentives and support to
- product-as-service models
- circular materials and production processes
- international cooperation for increased transparency
Guidance for separate textile waste collection
The goal is for EU countries to achieve high levels of separate textile waste collection by 2025.
Increased recycling and re-use
We will boost textile sorting, re-use and recycling, through innovation and other means, encouraging industrial applications and regulatory measures such as extended producer responsibility.