Enough with disposable fashion! EU declares war on fast fashion

Enough with disposable fashion! EU declares war on fast fashion 1920 768 flustix

Fast fashion is one of the biggest environmental sins of industrialized nations: Every second, a truckload of textiles is disposed of in waste incineration plants. This will soon be a thing of the past: The EU is tightening the ecological requirements for textiles. From 2030, only high-quality, recyclable textiles produced under fair conditions may be sold in the EU.

Excerpts from the new requirements for the production of textiles:

  • The Ecodesign Regulation, which previously only existed for products labeled as sustainable, will become standard for all textiles sold in the EU. The regulation sets mandatory minimum values for the use of recycled fibers – and thus promotes the circular economy.
  • Each item of clothing sold receives a digital product passport. For example, a QR code can be used to check how recyclable a shirt or jeans is. Label fraud and greenwashing, i.e. false eco-declarations and promises, are strictly controlled and punished.
  • Destruction of unsold or returned goods is prohibited.
  • Regulations will be standardized within the EU, and the export of used clothing and textile waste to other European countries will be prohibited. Exceptions are only possible if the involved countries inform the Commission that they want to import these wastes: They must then prove that “they are able to deal with it in a sustainable way.”

This means that producers of low-cost fashion are facing enormous challenges. As the European Commission writes, “As far as textile manufacturers are concerned, binding product design requirements and more reliable extended producer responsibility rules will help to extend the life of garments.” To put it another way: The cheap 2.99-euro shirt will no longer exist – possibly also meaning the end of the textile discounters that are so popular in Germany.

Why does the EU’s new strategy also help in the fight against microplastics?

Here’s what the Commission says: “Textiles made of synthetic fibers such as polyester and acrylic are one of the main causes why microplastics are unintentionally released into the environment. Microplastics are released at different stages of the product’s life.” This is why as early as in the first half of 2022, the Commission is launching a new project to combat the “unintentional release of microplastics: this may concern product design, improved manufacturing processes, pre-washing in factories, product labeling and the promotion of innovative materials.”

However, the EU Commission’s measures alone will not be enough – consumers must also learn to deal with fashion in a more sustainable way. „We can already make a huge contribution by simply refraining from stocking up on cheap clothes several times a year and opting for higher-quality or even used clothing instead,“ says Xenia Kersten, flustix expert for textiles. One manufacturer of sustainable clothing is the Berlin-based company bleed, which – certified by flustix – offers a plastic-free streetwear collection. What else can you do at home? Here are 7 tips from expert Xenia.

Image Credits: Carsten Gensing