The fashion industry is booming, so is textile waste. According to a 2018 United Nations report, fashion production accounts for about 10% of humanity's carbon emissions and 85% of all produced textiles go to waste annually. Understanding the need for action, European Commission recently said textile waste rules must be implemented by 2028.
Earlier this week, the European Commission (EU) recognised the need to tackle textile consumption in Europe, which houses popular fast fashion firms such as H&M and Inditex. However, these brands have shown no signs of reducing production but have said that they are looking for ways to reduce water and energy consumption and use more recycled textiles, according to Reuters.
EU wants all planned regulations requiring fashion companies to produce clothes in a more sustainable way to be in place by 2028, as reported by Reuters. Through this move, the EU aims to address Europe's impact on the environment and climate change.
"The fashion industry has kind of escaped regulation, but we see that they are a big pressure for natural resources and with regard to pollution. We have to react," Virginijus Sinkevičius said in an interview at the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen, as reported by Reuters. EU is drafting at least 16 pieces of legislation to get fashion companies to take responsibility for the environmental impacts of the clothes they churn out.
Although it will be a challenge for fast fashion brands, the implementation of measures is aimed to happen in the next five years. According to the measures, fashion companies will have to either collect an amount of textile waste that is equivalent to a certain percentage of their production or pay a fee towards local authorities' collection work. The amount will gradually increase every few years, according to Reuters.
Last month, EU governments agreed that the destruction of unsold textiles should be banned to encourage more reuse and recycling, as reported by Reuters. By 2030, the EU aims for fashion companies to produce more durable pieces that can be reused and more easily recycled. It is also working on regulations that would limit fashion brands' use of sustainable claims to promote clothing.
Meanwhile, in May, it was announced that the Chinese fashion brand Shein is returning to India after three years and is partnering with Mukesh Ambani's Reliance Industries Ltd.
Along with intellectual property infringement and violation of labour laws, Shein, one of the biggest fast fashion brands, has been called out several times for environmental damage. According to Time, the company churns out 6.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. This number falls well below the 45% target to reduce global carbon emissions by 2030.