The Policy Hub welcomes the publication of the European Commission’s Circular Economy Action Plan to boost circularity, and especially its focus on the textiles sector. The concept of circular economy and sustainable business models is not new to the textile industry, hence our enthusiasm for this action plan which lays the first stone towards the long-awaited Textiles Strategy. Offering a clear and harmonised framework to our sector is of paramount importance. Our planet’s resources are reaching their limits; we need to move away from business as usual.

We support the comprehensive approach adopted for our sector as we fully acknowledge that efforts to improve circularity have to be implemented not only during the whole lifecycle of products, but also along the entire value chain. We thus duly noted the Commission’s commitment to future eco-design measures and believe the forthcoming Sustainable Product Framework will also be instrumental in that regard. Providing simple and understandable information related to the sustainability attributes of a product along with its end-of-life management will be extremely beneficial – enhancing both the textiles sector’s sustainable practices and consumers’ empowerment.  

The Policy Hub is also pleased to hear the Commission’s intention to provide incentives and support to product-service models, circular materials and production processes. We thus strongly encourage the Commission to consider a smart mix of solutions that reward the contributions of the different circular design strategies[1] and of the different circular business models[2].

When it comes to end-of-life management, the Policy Hub agrees that innovation has an important role to play, especially to facilitate the uptake of a secondary raw materials market. In that sense, dedicating research & funding to ensure the roll-out of innovative sorting and high-value recycling infrastructures and technologies is essential. In addition, we cannot emphasise enough the need to set the right foundations when defining an Extended Producer Responsibility approach for used textiles. We hope the EU will tackle the hurdles caused by the definition of used textiles as waste by establishing a harmonised end-of-waste criteria at EU level.

The Policy Hub is looking forward to joining the future EU debates in a spirit of collaboration across sectors and stakeholders, both through the Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform and the forth coming Global Circular Economy Alliance. We will support the European Commission in jointly drafting a smart mix of policy proposals.

[1] (duration of service, cyclability, reparability and sustainable production)
[2] These include circular supply models replacing virgin materials, resource recovery models supplying recycled materials, product life extension models (repair, re-commerce, rental, subscription, product care and maintenance), sharing models and models marketing services instead of products.