France Will Soon Ban Stores From Throwing Out Unsold Clothing

700,000 tons of clothes are thrown away each year in France alone.

Jun 19, 2018

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France has decided to take action against textile waste and has recently begun building a plan to ban the disposal of unused fabrics and apparel altogether.

The initiative comes as France integrates itself into the ‘circular economy,’ which is a method of instituting a more sustainable and eco-friendly economic structure. Specifically, the circular economy endeavors to remove waste from the current linear system (which goes from natural resource extraction to the landfill) and instead advocates using recycled and biodegradable materials.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has put forth 50 proposals as a roadmap to move France into the circular economy. The new ban on textile waste is the 15th proposal and deals specifically with the apparel industry.

Over the past few years, France and several other countries have banned food waste, and now Prime Minister Phillippe is hoping this new law will take a similar precedent only with textile and apparel waste. In France, 700,000 tons of clothes are thrown away each year, making this a major issue.

Emmaus, which is part of the international solidarity movement
, has been working on the proposal for months and hopes that it will be translated into legislature by 2019.

Valerie Fayard, Deputy General Manager of Emmaus, explains: “the 2019 deadline allows the government to appraise the situation, calculate the amount of discarded [textiles], review the procedures put in place by companies and the problems involved.”

This new law is a major step in reducing consumer clothing waste; hopefully, other countries will follow suit!

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Hilla Benzaken is a dedicated optimist. Her happy place involves cooking, acting, gardening, and fighting for social justice. She writes about all things sustainability, innovation, and DIY.