By guest author Dieter Holger from the Wall Street Jounal.
Europe is cracking down on the fashion industry’s pollution.
Clothing has become a bigger cause of waste and greenhouse-gas emissions in recent years. Shoppers have spent less to get more, as companies lowered both the price and quality of much clothing in the pursuit of profits.
Less than 1% of the world’s clothes are recycled into new garments. Every second, a truckload of clothes either ends up incinerated or in a landfill within the borders of the European Union.
Now, the EU has said it plans to put “fast fashion out of fashion” by 2030, referring to the trend of people buying and throwing away clothes in less than a year. Clothes should be “long-lived and recyclable, to a great extent made of recycled fibers,” the EU says.
Specifics aren’t yet available, but the coming regulations are already forcing companies to rethink how they design clothes and source materials. Rules would cover all clothes sold in the 27-nation bloc, which imports nearly three quarters of its textiles.
One challenge is the difficulty of recycling clothes made of a mixture of organic and synthetic fibers, as separating the materials is tricky. Experts say one of the best solutions would be to start making garments with one material, which the EU’s coming regulations could encourage.