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EU Launches New Textiles Project for Closed Loop Production

The European Union has always strived for greater sustainability and now a new 3.6 million euro ($3.9 million) EU Life funded pilot project is expected to further reducing the carbon, water and waste footprints clothing leaves on the EU.

The European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP), led by the Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP), will work with brands, retailers, manufacturers, reuse and recycling organizations, charities and consumers to reduce clothing waste by:

  • Designing and specifying products for longer life and closed loop production
  • Ensuring less clothing goes to incineration and landfill
  • Encouraging consumers to buy less clothing and use it for longer
  • Improving innovation in resource-efficient design and service models to encourage business growth in the sector

“Finding more sustainable ways to work with textiles is an area set to deliver huge benefits – both economic and environmental,” said Dr. Liz Goodwin OBE, CEO of WRAP.

As part of the three-year project, WRAP will partner with MADE-BY, Rijkswaterstaat (part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment), Danish Fashion Institute and London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) to help keep over 90 thousand tons of clothing waste per year out of landfills and incineration machines across Europe by March 2019.

In order to achieve this goal, ECAP, which is said to be based on the principles of WRAP’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) in the UK, will ask those who have signed the agreement to measure success against a set of what the program calls ambitious objectives.

“Up to 80 percent of a garment’s environmental impact is decided in the design phase,” Jonas Eder-Hansen, VP and development director for the Danish Fashion Institute, said. “Only few designers and product developers realize their potential to create sustainable change through their decision. As part of ECAP, DAFI is excited to create an online learning platform for designers and product developers to fulfil their potential and design for longevity. The results will build on DAFI’s long tradition for working with designers through its Fashion Source library of eco and innovative materials.”

ECAP will initially be active in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the UK with plans to expand into other countries in Europe and Asia in the future.