The new EU regulations crack down on the "fast fashion" mode and prohibit the destruction of unsold clothes.

According to European media reports, on December 5, local time, the European Union approved new regulations prohibiting large retail groups from destroying unsold clothing and footwear, in order to combat the "fast fashion" mode and reduce the waste of resources.

According to the European Commission, Europe produces 5.2 million tons of discarded clothing a year, of which less than a quarter is recycled, which is harmful to the climate and the environment.

"It’s time to end the’ fast fashion’ mode."

On December 5, local time, the European Parliament and EU member states announced new regulations to combat "fast fashion" and reduce waste of resources, including prohibiting the destruction of unsold clothes and shoes, so as to promote enterprises to produce and sell products that are more durable and easier to maintain and recycle.

This new EU regulation will not be implemented immediately. In principle, large enterprises will have a two-year transition period, medium-sized enterprises will have a six-year transition period, and small enterprises will be exempted. In addition, EU member states and the European Parliament still need to finalize some details of the new regulations.

According to the new regulations, goods must also carry a "digital product passport", which shows the information about the impact of the whole industrial chain of the goods on the environment and helps consumers make better choices.

In the future, the European Commission will also have the right to extend the ban on destroying unsold products to other fields besides clothing and footwear, such as furniture, tires, detergents and other commodities. Many raw material industries, such as iron, steel and aluminum, will also be regulated accordingly. However, the EU auto industry and military industry may be exempted.

Delara Burckhardt, a member of the European Parliament, said that consumers alone cannot change the global textile industry, and the EU must legally require manufacturers and large fashion companies to operate more sustainably.

"It’s time to end the’ fast fashion’ mode." Alexandra Moreti, a member of the European Parliament, said that she summed up the "fast fashion" model as "acquiring (resources), manufacturing (products) and destroying (surplus or outdated products)". The new concept advocated by the EU is "reuse, maintenance and recycling".

A number of European garment enterprises have issued statements acknowledging that there are problems in their production and sales models. "Overproduction and over-consumption are an industry-wide problem" and "the fashion production and consumption patterns need to be changed-this is an undeniable fact".

The legislation being promoted by the European Commission also includes requiring retailers to bear the cost of collecting old clothes for reuse and recycling. According to the proposed regulations, retailers will pay about 12 euro cents for each piece of clothing sold in the EU, and the cost of clothes that are more difficult to recycle is higher.

Millions of tons of discarded clothes are dumped into garbage dumps in Europe every year.

It is reported that the EU has been seeking to solve the negative impact of European textile consumption.

The European Commission said in July this year that Europe produces 5.2 million tons of discarded clothing a year, less than a quarter of which is recycled, and millions of tons of discarded clothing are dumped into landfills.

According to the European Commission, "Fast Fashion" mass production and sale of low-quality and low-priced clothing is a "highly unsustainable" model, which is harmful to the climate and the environment.

According to the research report quoted by the media, it is estimated that the fashion industry is one of the biggest sources of pollution and waste in the world, which produces about 20% of the world’s wastewater and about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Burckhardt said that second-hand clothing is piling up in Ghana and other countries, and textile waste appears in oceans and lakes. The "fast fashion" model is exploiting human and earth resources. "Human and earth are obviously more important than the profits of the textile industry."

On August 25th, 2021, Lagos, Nigeria, the second-hand clothing market displayed old clothes imported from Europe and America. Figure /IC photo

According to the United Nations trade data, the EU exported 1.4 million tons of second-hand textiles in 2022, more than twice as much as in 2000. These second-hand textiles have caused troubles in many parts of the world, so the local market can’t digest so many second-hand clothes and lacks other effective disposal methods.

Chile in South America, Ghana and Kenya in Africa are major second-hand clothing importers. It is estimated that the Atacama desert in Chile has been piled up or buried with about 3 square kilometers of waste clothes, so this area is called the "world trash can".

Ghana is the largest importer of second-hand clothing in the world. The country imports 15 million pieces of second-hand clothes every week, and the locals call these clothes "obroni wawu", which means "clothes of dead white people" (note: when the second-hand clothes in Europe and America first appeared in Ghana, the locals thought that such good clothes were still sold, so it was called).

Local people in Ghana said that in these textile wastes, a large number of clothing labels have not been removed, and they have never been worn and have been discarded.

Non-governmental organizations in Ghana said that due to the huge number, only some of these garments can be sold locally, and the rest are either burned or dumped in informal landfills. A lot of textile waste eventually flows into the sea, and local beaches are full of clothing and other textile waste.

Beijing News reporter Chen Yukai

Editor Zhang Lei proofreads Li Lijun.