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Photo: Pixabay
30.03.2022

EURATEX comments “Strategy for Sustainable Textile” calling for a realistic implementation

Today, March 30, the European Commission released its long-awaited Strategy for Sustainable Textile, with the ambition to move the sector towards the path of sustainability. EURATEX welcomes the EU ambitions to act on sustainable textiles and investments, in order to change how textiles are made, chosen and recovered, but calls for a smart and realistic implementation. Many European companies have already chosen this path, therefore the strategy should support them in this process, especially considering today’s energy crisis.

The strategy recognises the strategic importance of textiles, which are not only used as apparel or furniture, but applied in cars, medical equipment, agriculture, etc. It acknowledges the European Industry pro-active initiatives to tackle microplastics, to solve challenges of market surveillance and the skills needs. More cooperation is needed for re-use and recycling of textiles and to set up an EU market for secondary raw materials. On this last point, EURATEX ReHubs initiative is developing proposals to size EPR potential, to transform waste into value, and create a new capacity and jobs.

Today, March 30, the European Commission released its long-awaited Strategy for Sustainable Textile, with the ambition to move the sector towards the path of sustainability. EURATEX welcomes the EU ambitions to act on sustainable textiles and investments, in order to change how textiles are made, chosen and recovered, but calls for a smart and realistic implementation. Many European companies have already chosen this path, therefore the strategy should support them in this process, especially considering today’s energy crisis.

The strategy recognises the strategic importance of textiles, which are not only used as apparel or furniture, but applied in cars, medical equipment, agriculture, etc. It acknowledges the European Industry pro-active initiatives to tackle microplastics, to solve challenges of market surveillance and the skills needs. More cooperation is needed for re-use and recycling of textiles and to set up an EU market for secondary raw materials. On this last point, EURATEX ReHubs initiative is developing proposals to size EPR potential, to transform waste into value, and create a new capacity and jobs.

The proposed “transition pathways”, which will translate the strategy into action, will be critical in this respect: how will these sustainability targets be reached, what will the cost for SMEs be, how can companies be supported in that green transition, what about the impact on global competitiveness? These are essential questions to be addressed in the coming months.
The Textile strategy is part of much broader package, including as many as 16 new legislative actions and other policies which will directly impact on textile value chain. In particular the Sustainable Product Initiative Regulation released on March, 30 includes game-changing provisions on Digital Product Passport, Eco-Design, SMEs and Green Public Procurement.  The Regulation has an overwhelming ambition and, to be realistic, it would require a new way of joint working between institutions and business, and which builds on lessons learned on data flow across value chains, interoperability, conformity assessment and effective measures to support SMEs.

If wrongly implemented, such an unprecedented wave may cause a complete collapse of the European textile value chain under the burden of restrictions, requirements, costs and unlevel playing field. On the contrary, the changes ahead can boom the entire textile ecosystem and create a model of successful green and digital transition in manufacturing, which starts in Europe and expands globally.

Already in 2019, EURATEX asked policy makers to work together and remove barriers to circular economy, solve the market surveillance paradox in which laws are made but not checked, and to help create scale economies to make sustainable textiles affordable, hence the norm.

For example, there are 28 billion products circulating per year in EU, which is an impressive task for market surveillance authorities including customs. EURATEX has been stressing non-sufficient market surveillance and it is actively working on solutions for a fair and effective market surveillance of textile products through Reach4Textiles. EURATEX very much welcomes that the European Commission recognizes our work and the need for market surveillance by establishing more harmonised efforts in the EU.

EURATEX also welcomes the establishment of the Digital Product Passport. It has a high potential to improve every step in the textile value chain, from design and manufacturing to recycling and purchasing. At the same time, EURATEX calls the co-legislators to take into account the role of SME’s in this transition and to put forward pragmatic initiatives, supporting SME’s across the EU in a systematic approach.

Alberto Paccanelli, EURATEX President, concludes: EURATEX calls for true cooperation with all policy makers and other stakeholders across the value chains to advise, pressure-test and use this opportunity for a successful transition. Our ambition must be to reconcile sustainability, resilience and competitiveness; we know it can be done”.

Source:

EURATEX

DNFI: Microplastic pollution is a global challenge Photo: pixabay
10.12.2021

DNFI: Microplastic pollution is a global challenge

Microplastic pollution is a global challenge across many industries and sectors – one of critical importance being textiles.

A 2021 study by the California Ocean Science Trust and a group of interdisciplinary scientists acknowledges that microfibres from textiles are among the most common microplastic materials found in the marine environment. Every time synthetic clothes are manufactured, worn, washed, or disposed of, they release microplastics into terrestrial and marine environments, including human food chains. Synthetic fibres represent over two-thirds (69%) of all materials used in textiles, a proportion that is expected to rise to 73% by 2030. The production of synthetic fibres has fuelled a 40-year trend of increased per capita clothing consumption.

Global textile consumption has become:

Microplastic pollution is a global challenge across many industries and sectors – one of critical importance being textiles.

A 2021 study by the California Ocean Science Trust and a group of interdisciplinary scientists acknowledges that microfibres from textiles are among the most common microplastic materials found in the marine environment. Every time synthetic clothes are manufactured, worn, washed, or disposed of, they release microplastics into terrestrial and marine environments, including human food chains. Synthetic fibres represent over two-thirds (69%) of all materials used in textiles, a proportion that is expected to rise to 73% by 2030. The production of synthetic fibres has fuelled a 40-year trend of increased per capita clothing consumption.

Global textile consumption has become:

  • more reliant on non-renewable resources,
  • less biodegradable, and
  • increasingly prone to releasing microplastics.

The increased consumption is also discretionary, driven by consumer desire and remains unchecked. Thus, the long-term trend in the textile industry parallels the intentional addition of microplastics to products such as cosmetics. The contrast is that the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has recommended such intentional additions be restricted, whereas the over-consumption of synthetic fibres continues unchecked. One way for the EU to account for and mitigate microplastic pollution is through an EU-backed methodology measuring and reporting microplastic emissions, so that consumers and procurement officers have the information needed to minimise microplastic pollution resulting from their purchasing decisions.

There is a critical opportunity to address microplastic pollution in the fashion textile industry through the EU Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) methodology. To meet the environmental objectives of the Circular Economy Action Plan, the EU is proposing that companies substantiate their products’ environmental credentials using this harmonised methodology. However, microplastic pollution is not accounted for in the PEF methodology. This omission has the effect of assigning a zero score to microplastic pollution and would undermine the efforts of the European Green Deal, which aim “to address the unintentional release of microplastics in the environment.”

The incorporation of microplastic pollution as an indicator would increase the legitimacy of the PEF method as well as better inform consumer purchasing decisions, especially as the European Green Deal seeks to “further develop and harmonise methods for measuring unintentionally released microplastics, especially from tyres and textiles, and delivering harmonised data on microplastics concentrations in seawater.”

Whilst we continue to learn about the damage of microplastics and there is new knowledge emerging on the toxic impacts along the food chain, there is sufficient information on the rate of microplastic leakage into the environment to implement a basic, inventory level indicator in the PEF now. This is consistent with the recommendations of a review of microplastic pollution originating from the life cycle of apparel and home textiles. There are precedents in PEF for basic level (e.g., ‘resource use, fossils’) and largely untested (e.g. land occupation and toxicity indicators) indicators, and therefore an opportunity for the EU to promote research and development in the measurement and modelling of microplastic pollution by including such emissions in the PEF methodology. For such an indicator, the long and complex supply chains of the apparel and footwear industry would be a test case with high-impact and a global reach.

Source:

DNFI / IWTO – 2021

06.09.2021

Textile and apparel industry alliance closer to an international microfibre shedding standard

A sector alliance that was formed to tackle issues relating to microplastics has completed the next phase of its project to develop a harmonised industry standard for the supply chain. The Cross Industry Agreement (CIA) has revealed the results of a fibre fragmentation trial that has been carried out in advance of establishing a CEN Standard (from the European Committee for Standardization). Once confirmed, the standard will also become an ISO standard under the Vienna Agreement, providing apparel manufacturers and policy makers with a vital tool as part of wider work to reduce microfibre shedding into the environment.

A sector alliance that was formed to tackle issues relating to microplastics has completed the next phase of its project to develop a harmonised industry standard for the supply chain. The Cross Industry Agreement (CIA) has revealed the results of a fibre fragmentation trial that has been carried out in advance of establishing a CEN Standard (from the European Committee for Standardization). Once confirmed, the standard will also become an ISO standard under the Vienna Agreement, providing apparel manufacturers and policy makers with a vital tool as part of wider work to reduce microfibre shedding into the environment.

In 2018, five industry organisations agreed to join forces to proactively tackle the issue of microplastics, and signed the Cross Industry Agreement. The initial signatories were European industry associations that represent the European and global value chains of garments and their associated maintenance – the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance Products (A.I.S.E.), European Man-Made Fibres Association (CIRFS), European Outdoor Group (EOG), EURATEX the European apparel and textile industry confederation, and the Federation of the European Sporting goods Industry (FESI). Together, the five organisations understood that the very first step to enable global action around the topic, was to agree a harmonised test method which would allow the collection and comparison of globally generated data, to aid the identification of solutions.

The microfibre shedding test method was developed thanks to the joint efforts and cooperation of experts from 28 European, American and Asian organisations; the result was handed over to CEN in 2020. Since then, representatives from the CIA have been working with CEN to fine tune details in order to meet the requirements for a CEN Standard. To verify the reproducibility of the method, the partners have carried out a round robin trial (RRT) to determine if the method could be replicated in different laboratories and produce similar results. 10 organisations participated in the RRT, which was co-ordinated by the CIA, sending fabric samples to all of the laboratories involved and then collecting and analysing the data.

The results from the RRT show statistically significant consistency, both within and between participating laboratories, which demonstrates that the method is both repeatable in the same setting and reproducible in other laboratories.

The CIA has submitted the results of the RRT to CEN, with the intention that the CEN Standard is confirmed in the near future. Once that has happened, it will be promoted throughout the apparel industry and will become a key tool for researchers, businesses and governments as they accelerate efforts to reduce microfibre shedding associated with garment production.

Source:

Euratex

30.08.2021

The Renewable Carbon Initiative RCI is joining forces

  • From fossil to renewable materials: Members advocate policy analysis and focused implementation of the renewable carbon strategy

The members of the Renewable Carbon Initiative (RCI) (www.renewable-carbon-initiative.com), founded in September 2020, have joined forces to shape the transition from the fossil to the renewable age for the chemical and materials industry. This means spreading the concept of renewable carbon and developing new value chains based on renewable carbon as a feedstock.

In the meantime, several activities have started from which future members can benefit as well. First and foremost is the kick-off to comprehensive policy analysis. What influence will forthcoming regulation have on chemicals, plastics, and other materials? When and where should the renewable carbon idea be emphasized and referred to?

The policy analysis will examine pending policies in the European Union – and a later expansion to America and Asia is planned as well.

  • From fossil to renewable materials: Members advocate policy analysis and focused implementation of the renewable carbon strategy

The members of the Renewable Carbon Initiative (RCI) (www.renewable-carbon-initiative.com), founded in September 2020, have joined forces to shape the transition from the fossil to the renewable age for the chemical and materials industry. This means spreading the concept of renewable carbon and developing new value chains based on renewable carbon as a feedstock.

In the meantime, several activities have started from which future members can benefit as well. First and foremost is the kick-off to comprehensive policy analysis. What influence will forthcoming regulation have on chemicals, plastics, and other materials? When and where should the renewable carbon idea be emphasized and referred to?

The policy analysis will examine pending policies in the European Union – and a later expansion to America and Asia is planned as well.

A particular focus will be placed on upcoming policies and regulations and how they impact renewable carbon. The members are currently deciding on where to start specifically, but questions that may be considered are: What does the new climate law and the “Fit for 55-Package” mean for chemicals and materials? What can be expected from REACH and microplastics restrictions? How relevant is the “Sustainable Products Initiative” and the coming restrictions for Green Claims? Circular Economy, Zero Pollution and Sustainable Financing are keywords of the future European landscapes, which might become very concrete for chemistry and materials in the next few years. To what extent the concept of renewable carbon for materials is considered in policy already and how it could be further introduced in future legislation are two of the main questions investigated in the working group “Policy”.

This working group is open to all members of RCI. Policy experts provide the respective analysis as a foundation, organising discussions between members of the policy group and plan meetings with policymakers to introduce the Renewable Carbon concept.

Additional working groups have been created, one with a focus on communication, the other looking at the development of a renewable carbon label. In early September, a renewable carbon community will be launched as a starting point for even more interaction between the members, to discuss strategies, create new value chains and start project consortia.

The Renewable Carbon Initiative (RCI) is a dynamic and ambitious group of interested parties. Membership numbers have now more than doubled since the launch almost a year ago, with RCI now boasting 25 members, 6 partners and over 200 supporters. It welcomes all companies that are on the way to transform their resource base from fossil to renewable.

More information:
Renewable Carbon Initiative
Source:

nova-Institut für politische und ökologische Innovation GmbH für RCI