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Government unveils plans for wide-ranging Waste Prevention Programme - Defra

Proposals to support sustainable fashion unveiled on Global Recycling Day.

Plans to reduce waste have been unveiled on Global Recycling Day (Thursday 18 March) - including proposals for new measures that will ramp up action on fast fashion and hold manufacturers accountable for textile waste.

These plans form part of a new wide-ranging Waste Prevention Programme for England which sets out how the Government and industry can take action across seven key sectors – construction; textiles; furniture; electrical and electronics products; road vehicles; packaging, plastics and single-use items; and food - to minimise waste and work towards a more resource efficient economy. This includes steps to use resources more efficiently, design and manufacture products for optimum life and repair and reuse more items.

Building on the landmark Resources & Waste Strategy, the Government will consult stakeholders by the end of 2022 on options for textiles, such as an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme which would ensure the industry contributes to the costs of recycling, supported by measures to encourage better design and labelling. This will help to boost the reuse and recycling of textiles and reduce the environmental footprint of the sector.

The fashion industry is estimated to account for 4% of annual global carbon emissions, while textiles production leads to greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the emissions of France, Germany and the UK. We buy and throw away increasing amounts of fabrics, with the purchase of clothing rising by almost 20% between 2012 and 2016, and around 921,000 tonnes of used textiles disposed of in household waste each year.

A producer responsibility scheme for the textiles industry could boost reuse, better collections and recycling, drive the use of sustainable fibres, and support sustainable businesses models such as rental schemes.

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