Europe throws away four million tons of unsold clothing on an annual basis. Now France looks set to pass a law requiring stores to donate the items to charities for distribution to the needy.
France adopts same approach to unsold clothing as it did with food waste in 2016
In 2015 France passed a law requiring grocery stores and supermarkets to donate unsold —but perfectly edible — food produce to charities for distribution to the needy. Now they’re taking the same approach to the textile industry, with a similar law which prohibits throwing away unsold clothing to be passed by next year.
French PM puts forward measures to prohibit throwing away unsold textiles and apparel
France has been very proactive in terms of eliminating product waste. Indeed France was the leading country in Europe in limiting food waste, according to the 2017 Food Sustainability Index.
In recent years, France saw an increase in homeless people going through store dumpsters for food, so in 2016 they became the first country to pass a law to prevent grocery stores and supermarkets from throwing away perfectly edible food that neared expiration. The new legislation requires stores to donate the produce to charities for distribution to the needy.
Now they’re taking the same approach to the textile industry, with a similar law which prohibits throwing away unsold clothing expected to be passed in 2019.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has put forward a road map for the development of the country’s circular economy. Of the document’s fifty proposals, the fifteenth covers measures to prohibit throwing away unsold textiles and apparel.
The document issued by the PM’s office also indicated that the government wants to “apply to the textile industry, by 2019, the main principles adopted in the fight against food waste, to ensure that unsold textile stocks are neither discarded nor eliminated.”
The fashion industry is reportedly The world‘s second largest polluter, after Big Oil — European consumers reportedly throw away four million tons of clothes each year, while at the same time five million tons are put on the market. In France, one of Europe’s largest apparel markets, 700,000 tons of clothing are thrown away each year, but only 160,000 tons are recycled. (Click for more fashion industry waste statistics)
The new measures the French government plan to introduce do not just impact the textile and apparel industry in the field of unsold stock. Proposal number seven in the road-map document concerns the introduction of “voluntary environmental labelling for products and services in five pilot sectors (furniture, textiles, hotels, electronics and food products),” a solution which would extend to other industries in the course of 2018.
The French Prime Minister stated that the measures contained in the road map would be translated into legislation by 2019, as France implements the new EU directive on waste, and as part of the country’s future finance bills. In the meantime, a series of regulations and collective initiatives will be deployed, with the government pushing companies to “engage voluntarily” in the matter.
What can you do as an individual? Buy less, wear more!
Less is more. Honestly. Buy less, wear more. Here are 6 simple ways you can help reduce that mountain of fashion waste.
30 wears? Before you buy anything new ask yourself – will I wear it at least 30 times? If the answer is ‘no’, then you probably don’t need it. Read more about #30wears from founder Livia Firth.
Craft yourself a capsule wardrobe Small collections of clothing, thoughtfully selected to pair well together will keep you looking great and versatile throughout a season. Not sure where to start? Read the GoodOnYou capsule wardrobe how-to-guide.
Organise a clothes swap with friends A clothing swap is a fun way to catch up with friends and score some new clothes, cost-free and waste free!
Find stylish second-hand bargains Hit your local secondhand shop or vintage market before looking elsewhere.
Become a slow fashionista! How do you counteract fast fashion? Well, with slow fashion of course! The slow fashion movement is about counteracting impulsive shopping through creativity and fresh perspectives. You can shop your wardrobe with stylist’s tricks, repair and rework old clothes – maybe learning new skills along the way and invest in quality, timeless clothing instead of going for quantity and the latest trend. All to help foster a mindful approach to your style. Check out GoodOnYou’s 9 ethical fashion hacks for more details and ideas on slow fashion.
Shop for clothing that is ethically and sustainably produced One of the great things about awareness raising campaigns like the War on Waste is that more and more brands respond to consumer demands for sustainable products. You might be surprised by the number of stylish fashion brands that are wholeheartedly committed to reducing their waste.