France is at it again with its campaign towards the elimination of product waste, this time setting its sights on stores with a habit of throwing away unsold clothing. If the plan pushes through, then perhaps the textile industry in France might have a shakedown, given France would take none of the policies the textile industry has towards simply “throwing” away unsold clothes.
The problem may have gotten itself in the limelight last 2016 when there’s been an observable increase of homeless people in France found rummaging for clothes in store dumpsters – a move that made store owners locking even their garbage. Now, a law has just been passed that will require the stores to donate these clothes to charity instead of throwing them away.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said this is part of his goals to make sure France has a “circular economy,” and the move on textiles is just one of many proposals up for consideration. Other groups appear to be in support of the initiative, including Paris-based charity Emmaus which has been advocating for the Paris food waste policy to be applied to the textile industry as well.
Valerie Fayard of Emmaus France said the 2019 deadline of the policy might be just enough for the government to make a proper assessment of the situation. Fayard told Novethic, a company with a focus on sustainable transformation and research, that the 2019 deadline may also be ample for the French government to review textile company procedures and make adequate adjustments. In fact, the same approach will also be applied to clothing waste, as in waste from materials unused while making clothes.
Europe and its clothing problem
Is there a big problem if France had to make such a move? The move isn’t out of reason, as statistics do show that Europe actually throws out four million (!) tons of clothing, and five million more returning into the market every year. France’s clothing situation represents 17.5-percent of all that waste, with only 22.9-percent of everything that’s thrown out actually being recycled.
Nathalie Beauval showed a photograph of Celio, a France-based clothing line, actually destroying old clothes. The conversation towards “to donate or to destroy” came up when Beauval posted said photo on Facebook, wondering if Celio could actually just donate the clothes instead. Much to public shock, Celio replied it’s company policy to actually “shred” them as they were considered “unwearable.”
As per France’s move to conserve clothes, incentives are being eyed to be put in place for companies to actually dispose of their unsold clothing.
Multi-industrial waste problem
France’s move on the textiles industry is not the first move of the country towards a more sustainable economy. It’s in fact the leading country in the region to have limited food waste, as grocery store waste is just 11-percent of al food waste in the country. France is also looking towards industries such as hotels, furniture, and electronics as industries to be evaluated in terms of their waste policies. As such, French citizens, politicians, and businesses are expected to see more legislation on the matter in the near future.
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