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The destruction of returned and unsold textiles in Europe’s circular economy

May 13, 2024

The destruction of returned and unsold textiles in Europe’s circular economy

EU policymakers recently decided to introduce a direct ban on the destruction of textiles and footwear, with some exemptions for small, micro and medium-sized companies.

In this briefing, the EEA takes stock of what is currently known about the volumes and destruction of returned and unsold textiles in Europe. The growth of online shopping, flexible return practices, changed consumer preferences and fast-fashion business strategies in Europe have resulted in increased shares of returned and unsold textiles.

Over the past years, fast fashion and luxury brands have been reported as destroying returned or unsold clothing, shoes and other textiles. Textile product destruction is a very good example of a ‘take-make-waste’ approach.
It analyses how European countries include circular economy and waste actions in their reporting on climate change mitigation policies and measures and how the introduction of additional measures can help accelerate future reductions of GHG emissions.

The briefing finds that waste management and the circular economy have considerable potential for mitigating climate change. Therefore, countries would benefit from including policies and measures in these areas in their climate policy mix.

Learn more at European Environment Agency website.

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