3 May 2020
Textile standards must become much stricter. The textile sector must be sustainable, respect human rights, and eliminate unfair trade practices. These are the conclusions at the heart of the European Strategy for Sustainable Textile, Garments, Leather and Footwear, which was published on 23 April. A coalition of 65 NGOs wants to help the European Commission’s ‘comprehensive strategy for the textile sector,’ expected next year.
In this unofficial document, 65 NGOs have put down on paper what the European ‘comprehensive strategy’ should include. It contains a detailed elaboration of the desired rules and measures. The NGOs call on the European Commission to implement these criteria and the sector to act accordingly. The Plastic Soup Foundation is one of the signatories.
Today’s textile sector is linear. Raw materials are used to make clothes, and after wearing them, thrown away. There is hardly any circularity or reuse of raw materials. In addition to promoting circularity, reducing the turnover rate of clothing is also an important starting point. Because of ‘fast fashion,’ consumers often buy new clothes, while they could still wear the old ones.
Attention to microfibers
Microfibers come loose when washing synthetic textiles. With each wash of five kilos of synthetic laundry, an average of nine million fibers wash along with the wastewater. Many consumers do not realize that they are contributing to the plastic soup. One of the proposals is to make more information on labels compulsory so that consumers are better informed when they buy textiles.
Laura Diaz Sanchez, campaigner of Ocean Clean Wash, a campaign of the Plastic Soup Foundation: ‘We have been drawing attention to the environmental problems of microfibres derived from textiles for years. This problem must be regulated at a European level. The French government took an important first step earlier this year: from 2025 onwards, all new washing machines must include a filter that captures the fibers in time’.
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