EuRIC Urges Swift Deal and no EPR for Second-hand

EU Environment Ministers have adopted the Council’s position on the targeted revision of the Waste Framework Directive (WFD), covering food and textile waste. With interinstitutional negotiations poised to begin, and the obligation to separately collect used textiles starting in January 2025, EuRIC Textiles urges swift action to reach a deal before the end of the year.

Under the adopted Council position of 17 June, the Commission shall consider establishing specific targets for waste prevention, collection, sorting and recycling of textiles by the end of 2028. Member-States are given the option to use eco-modulation of fees to target ultra-fast-fashion, based on criteria that consider textile products overproduction and overconsumption practices.

Harmonised extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes requiring fashion brands, retailers and textile producers to cover the costs of textile waste collection and treatment shall also be established within 30 months after the directive comes into force. EuRIC Textiles welcomes the inclusion of microenterprises in the EPR scope, ensuring that all producers, regardless of size, are accountable.

However, EuRIC Textiles warns against the potential of Member States to introduce EPR fees for the placing on the market of second-hand clothes and textiles. Only new textile products placed on the market for the first time should fall under the EPR scope, as EPR is an application of the polluter pays principle and reusing clothing has a positive environmental impact.

Mariska Boer, President of EuRIC’s Textiles reuse and recycling branch stated: “Introducing EPR fees for re-use operators who put second-hand clothes on the market will be fatal blow to a sector already on the brink of collapse due to rising costs and dropping sales.”

Ahead of the upcoming trilogues, EuRIC Textiles calls for:

  • Retaining ownership of collected waste with all waste operators regardless of their social status, ensuring equal treatment for all actors involved in the collection and treatment of used textiles and textile waste.
  • Broad representation in Producer Responsibility Organisations (PROs) including collectors, sorters and recyclers, to ensure that EPR effectively supports a high-quality circular economy in the European textiles industry.
  • Implementing EPR at the national level 18 months after the WFD’s entry into force, aligning with the Parliament’s proposal, instead of the Council’s 30-month implementation period proposal.

Source: EuRIC (Brussels, June 21, 2024)