Extended (waste) producer responsibility in the textile industry

Available languages: DE, SK

The extended producer responsibility system is likely to have an impact on the textile industry in Slovakia.

The production, distribution and use of textiles leave an ecological footprint. In this article you will learn how the European Union's initiative will affect the textile industry and how companies will have to adapt in the future.

The European Green Deal[1], the New Circular Economy Action Plan[2], as well as the New Industrial Strategy for Europe[3], all identify the textile industry as a key sector in bringing about a carbon-neutral circular economy. Efforts to promote more sustainable textiles are also reflected in the European Commission’s document, the EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles[4]. In addition, the European Environment Agency is also working intensively on instituting a circular economy in the textile industry[5].

Source: European Environment Agency / Eionet 2019 – The Role of Education, Policy, Business Models and behavioural change in Circular Textile Systems.

This sector is in the spotlight because it has a significant impact on the environment due to high CO2 emissions, high water, energy and land consumption and, last but not least, chemical pollution.

All indications are that the circular economy will take a firm hold of the textile industry. This means that it will have to design and manufacture durable products that can be reused, repaired and recycled.

Pressure on companies in the textile industry is expected to increase. The aim is to reduce water consumption, energy consumption and CO2 emissions and to eliminate pollution. This development will require, among other things, technical and commercial innovations which will require time to prepare.

According to the EU Waste Directive[6], EU countries are obliged to introduce a separate collection for textile waste by 2025. In this context, the Slovak Ministry of Environment is considering including the textile industry in the extended producer responsibility system. This would entail a number of new, not only administrative, obligations for textile producers, for the purposes of which not only the actual textile producers but also, for example, textile importers and traders are also expected to be considered textile producers. In addition to the new administrative burden, entrepreneurs would also face new costs for the future collection, treatment and recycling of textile waste.

In view of the waste management targets set by the European Union, companies must expect that textile waste regulations will be tightened, and that new obligations and costs will soon be imposed on them.

We will continuously monitor legislative developments and report on them in due course.

[1] EUR-Lex - 52019DC0640 - EN - EUR-Lex (europa.eu)

[2] https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:52020DC0098&from=SK

[3] IMMC.COM%282020%29102%20final.ENG.xhtml.3_EN_ACT_part1_v7.docx (europa.eu)

[4] EU strategy for sustainable textiles (europa.eu)

[5] Textiles in Europe‘s circular economy — European Environment Agency (europa.eu), ETC/WMGE Report 6/2019: Textiles and the environment in a circular economy — Eionet Portal (europa.eu)

[6] Directive (EU) 2018/ of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste (europa.eu)