Over the last decades, the European recycling industries have drastically evolved by modernizing and constantly innovating to turn more waste streams into new resources. By doing so, the sector has contributed to the development of new technologies and automated equipment made in Europe and exported around the globe. The European regulatory framework has accompanied these changes thanks to ambitious targets and a meaningful waste hierarchy. However, the recycling sector continues to be subject to a complex and ever-growing EU regulatory framework, which affects its activities. To ensure a competitive European recycling sector, which is part of a global industry, EuRIC advocates clear, effective and smart European policies which:
- Incentivise recycling across the value chains;
- Minimise regulatory burdens on recyclers, in particular on SMEs;
- Guarantee an open and fair competition within Europe and with the world to foster a genuine internal recycling market.
EuRIC also advocates positive measures to ensure a consistent implementation of existing legislation across Europe.
The textiles re-use & recycling industry welcomes the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles
06 July 2022
The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) welcomes the publication of the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles1 creating conditions and incentives to reach a sustainable and circular textiles value chain by 2030.
The European textiles re-use and recycling industry is key to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy in textiles. Through preparation for re-use or recycling, the industry gives textiles a second life and saves resources, emissions and energy compared to the use of virgin textiles fibres. Additionally, it is a labor-intensive and local industry, relying on a wide variety of skilled professionals.
Handling & Sorting Specifications - For re-use and recycling of used textiles
Textiles and clothing are essential to our everyday life. Over the last two decades, the clothing consumption has more than doubled, leading to a drastic increase of discarded textiles. The EU-wide obligation to separately collect textiles by 2025 will further increase the supply of used textiles, shoes and accessories. To ensure optimal re-use and recycling of the used textiles, proper handling and sorting is essential.
The newly published “EuRIC Textiles Handling & Sorting Specifications for re-use and recycling of used textiles” are recommended as a guideline throughout the collection and sorting process to prepare items for either re-use or recycling in accordance with the waste hierarchy and best practices of the industry. They are intended to be used by industry professionals throughout the textile value chain in their day-to-day operations as the processes described secure the high quality of second-hand textiles for re-use and/or the appropriate infeed for the subsequent recycling process.
“At EuRIC Textiles, we feel it is important to have uniform and clear specifications describing how used textiles should be handled to achieve the highest possible percentage of re-use and recycling” explained Mariska Zandvliet, EuRIC Textiles President. “With the expected increase of used textiles to be collected after 2025, it must remain our top priority to minimize quality loss throughout the sorting process and maximize possibilities to re-use and recycle. Our specifications, prepared by leading industry professionals, ensure that the quality in collected textiles is retained and describe a sorting process for sustainable re-use and recycling. Thus, serving as reliable source for the entire industry facilitating circularity in textiles“, she concluded.
Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive
The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC), thanks the European Commission and Eunomia for the informative and often detailed series of workshops to support the measures created within the Impact Assessment for the revision of the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD) 94/62/EC. EuRIC strongly supports the need for ambitious measures in the field of packaging waste, to ensure the much-needed drive towards the circular economy, as promised in the new Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP). The crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic showed that the only manner to de-correlated recycled materials prices from market ones which fail to internalise externalise are binding measures to incentivise circular materials’ use. Thus, a continued focus is required on this level of ambition to avoid the watering down of pro-Circular measures.
This paper outlines the key cross-cutting positions of the European Recycling Industry. We look forward to workingclosely with the European Commission and Eunomia to ensure a progressive push in the revision of the PPWD’sessential requirements.
1. Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste. Link here
2. Circular Economy Action Plan: For a cleaner and more competitive Europe. Link here.
3. EuRIC Press Release - Decisive actions needed to support plastics recycling in Europe, June 2020.
BIR and EuRIC Joint Statement: Second-hand clothing imports are presumed to be safe
BIR and EuRIC would like to express concern about the restrictions issued by some countries to stop the import of second hand clothing based on the presumption that clothes coming from Europe or elsewhere may be contaminated with the coronavirus.
EuRIC Position on EPR Schemes for Textiles
Nowadays, our clothes are discarded and replaced by new items faster than ever before. According to a report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA), Europeans have purchased more clothing for less money over recent years due to the fast fashion phenomenon which promotes increased consumption and reduces the life span of clothing. For example, in Bulgaria the quantity of new textile products and footwear placed on the market has increased by about 122% in seven years (Denkstatt Bulgaria – Regulatory Impact Assessment of EPR for Shoes and Textiles in Bulgaria - Extended Summary Report).
The fast fashion trend, combined with the separate collection requirement for textiles by 2025 will automatically further increase the number of textiles collected. Currently, the collection of textiles is financed by revenues generated by the preparation for re-use and the marketing of second-hand textiles. However, in the future with an increase of separately collected textiles and a further drop in quality – due to lower quality products placed onto the market originally – the revenues generated will not be sufficient to cover all costs associated with the collection, sorting and recycling. Therefore, it is essential that markets for and the use of recycled textiles’ fibers are developed resp. incentivized while the markets for second-hand clothing are being maintained.
Setting up Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in the field of textiles for producers and importers of new clothing, in line with the minimum requirements set in the Waste Framework Directive, would be welcomed by the textiles’ re-use and recycling industry only if it helps bridging the design and theend-of-life treatment stages. EPR should also support the existing system of re-use which is the largest activity of the textile recycling industry as well as the demand for recycled fibers.
EuRIC calls for an ambitious Strategy on Textiles
Textiles and clothing are essential to our everyday life. Over the last two decades, the textiles’ industry, in particular the development of ‘fast fashion’, has deeply changed the consumption patterns, in Europe and globally. These changes, rooted in the production and consumption stages, have also impacted the textiles re-use and recycling sector. EuRIC, the European Recycling Industries’ Confederation, strongly welcomes the European Commission’s decision to make textiles, apparel and fabrics a priority product category within the Circular Economy 2.0.
EuRIC launches EuRIC Textiles and elects Executive Committee
The European Recycling Industries’ Confederation (EuRIC) is proud to announce the creation of EuRIC Textiles and the election of its new Textiles Executive Committee. The Executive Committee was elected during a meeting held on 3 December 2019 in which the vast majority of the European textiles re-use and recycling industry was present.