RREUSE’s reaction to the European Parliament’s report on the EU Textiles Strategy
RREUSE welcomes the report on an EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles that the European Parliament (EP) adopted on 1 June 2023. Whereas the EP report could have gone further in tackling key issues, it does address some of the missing pieces in European Commission’s proposal and is a crucial step toward a more ambitious circular and social framework for the future of the textile sector.
We particularly welcome encouraging developments for the inclusion of social enterprises in textile waste management and the promotion of the re-use business model. One of those positive developments is the EP report urging the Commission to introduce a wide set of separate targets in textile waste management: for waste prevention, collection, re-use, preparation for re-use, and closed loop fibre-to-fibre recycling of textiles. We support the intention to call on future Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes to enforce waste prevention principles and foster research and investments in textile collection, sorting, preparation for re-use and re-use.
The EP report also stresses the need to introduce reduced or zero VAT rates for second-hand and repaired products as well as to reinforce the re-use and repair sectors as alternatives to purchasing new products. RREUSE encourages the Commission to seriously consider those provisions in the ongoing revision of the Waste Framework Directive now foreseen in the summer of 2023.
The EP highlights the need to “reduce the global use of primary materials and the overproduction of textiles” and urges EU institutions to enact a ban on the destruction of unsold goods through the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation.
Nonetheless, the report misses an opportunity to tackle fast fashion more effectively, through a stronger position on EPR that should also aim at reducing overproduction to ensure waste prevention. To do so, eco-modulation criteria should include a progressive fee that depends on the number of new products placed on the market by a company each year. We also note the regrettable lack of recommendations to ensure the inclusion of social enterprises in the governance of future EPR schemes. Including them is a prerequisite to achieving the objectives of the EPR schemes. The omission of this recommendation goes against the EU Social Economy Action Plan’s objective of opening up opportunities for social economy entities to develop.
“The Parliament’s report calls for better consideration and support for social enterprises in waste management policy, notably in future EPR schemes, and for the inclusion of social enterprises in public tenders. In the context of the European Year of Skills, it is particularly encouraging that the Parliament recognises the major role of social enterprises through their reskilling and upskilling activities. We encourage EU policymakers to act on those recommendations and improve the recognition of social economy in circular policies.”
– Marie-Jeanne Gaertner, Project and Advocacy Officer – RREUSE