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France May be Set to Ban Stores from Discarding Unsold Clothes

In a move to reduce apparel and textile waste, France could ban retailers from discarding unsold garments by next year.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe wants to get France on track for a more circular economy and one of his latest proposals involves banning stores from throwing away unsold clothing, Green Matters reported.

France recently had an increase in homeless individuals searching for food in store dumpsters. Over the past two years, stores have attempted to keep out homeless people by locking up their garbage bins. This problem eventually prompted France to pass legislation that required stores to donate unsold food to charity rather than throwing it away. Now, efforts are underway to do something similar for apparel.

Emmaus France, an organization endeavoring to curb poverty, is working to facilitate more circular practices in the country, including having the French government pass a law to reduce apparel waste. According to the organization, the French government voted in 2006 to initiate a textile environmental contribution, with Emmaus France as its main collection and sorting operator. With this contribution, Emmaus said it has created new integration jobs and enabled the nation’s fashion sector to reduce garment waste over the past 12 years.

“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,” Valerie Fayard, general assistant at Emmaus France, told Novethic, a Paris-based sustainable transformation accelerator.

The prime minister’s proposal does not only involve apparel waste. According to the road map, there are a few key flagship measures for France, which include introducing a product reparability index to put an end to the purchase of products that can’t be repaired by Jan. 1, 2020, piloting a solidarity deposit system in local communities to collect plastic bottles and harmonizing garbage can colors by 2022 for improved sorting and collection.

France’s circularity plans come on the heels of other brands, organizations and consumers collaborating to protect the environment. According to research from PA Consulting Group, the potential material costs savings worldwide could reach as much as $700 billion for companies that make the switch to more circular models.