If we continue our current consumption habits, by 2050 we will be consuming as if there were three planets. And what’s more scary is that annual waste generation is projected to increase by 70% by 2050. All of this is happening to our planet Earth, which we have just one. Change needs to happen and it needs to happen now.
The European Green Deal launched a strategy for a climate-neutral and resource-efficient economy, to help bring the concept of circular economy to the mainstream, so that we can finally achieve climate neutrality by 2050. Their action plan includes everything from packaging to textiles, electronics to consumer awareness. In this article, we want to focus on three main areas: the circular economy, waste and textiles.
Many don’t realise that 80% of the environmental impact of products is determined in the design phase. Therefore, the so-called “core” of the product determines how impactful it is to the planet – many of them break too quickly, can’t be recycled or reused, and many are made for single use only. In order to produce products fit for a climate-neutral economy, the European Commission will propose a sustainable product policy with an Ecodesign framework. Through this, they can regulate product durability, performance and safety, reducing carbon and environmental footprints, restricting single-use etc.
Circularity in production processes is incredibly important. The Commission puts great emphasis on promoting the uptake of circularity, and we are more than happy to see that. Our whole brand has been built on “green” technologies, and the core of our brand has been the focus on lengthening the lifespan of textile waste. In addition, since we produce using many different methods, such as industrial upcycling, recycling and local upcycling, our company is 100% circular. We got where we are after endless hours of academic research, but it’s totally worth it. We encourage everyone to adopt a circular business model, no matter whether you are a small startup or a big corporation. We are all in the same boat and we need to have courage to do the right thing.
The action plan also covers textiles. New statistics show that less than 1% of all textiles worldwide are recycled into new textiles. So, it isn’t difficult to guess where the massive problem of textile waste in landfills comes from – it just doesn’t go back into the system. In the light of the complexity of the problem, to respond to this challenge, the Commission will propose a comprehensive EU Strategy for Textiles. They will aim to boost the EU market for sustainable and circular textiles, including the market for reuse, to address the problem of fast fashion, and to drive new business models. They will achieve this by providing guidance, boosting reuse and recycling, ensuring that textile products are fit for circularity, and by improving the business and regulatory environment for sustainable and circular textiles and increasing transparency through international cooperation.
We are waiting in anticipation to see the outcome of this. We feel like we are directly impacted by this chapter in the document, and that it is where we can help the most. But, you may ask, how can you help? The short answer is – make smart purchasing decisions. Buy what you need, not what you want. Buy quality items. Make your garments or any other products last as long as possible and if not – reuse, upcycle, recycle, or sell! The possibilities are endless. Although this document puts a lot of focus on businesses and brands and what they can do to combat this issue, we believe that we everyday consumers can start making the change within ourselves.
Less waste and more value is the other key message of the action plan. Despite all efforts, the amount of waste is still not going down. Writing out a sustainable product policy and splitting it into sections will be key to making progress on waste prevention. The plan also acknowledges that they need to build on, further strengthen, and better implement, waste laws within the EU.
High quality recycling relies on highly effective separate collection of waste, therefore, the Commission will propose to harmonise separate waste collection systems. For instance, this will involve implementing common bin colours, key waste symbols, product labels and information campaigns.
Thanks to our academic background we have come to the conclusion that upcycling is the most resource-efficient method of waste prevention. Furthermore, we have even developed a certification system called UPMADE® that helps others to put their leftovers back into circulation. As we mentioned before, we tackle the issue of waste by upcycling industrial and post-consumer waste on a local and global scale. We have clear evidence that this is how wate can be most easily sent back into circulation. If you are a garment manufacturer, designer, or anyone who works with fashion and would like to know more about how you can cut down your waste, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We love giving advice and educating people on this topic that we put our heart and soul into every day.
We are really pleased to see that the European Union is finally taking its first steps towards a cleaner future, and we can’t wait to be a part of it.