UK Government rejects proposals to force fast fashion retailers to be more environmentally responsible

by Apparel Resources News-Desk

18-June-2019  |  2 mins read

a fast fashion retailer in UK
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The UK Government has refused to accept the recommendations from MPs to clean up the huge environmental impact of fast fashion, which sees 300,000 tonnes of clothing burned or buried in the UK every year.

The MPs had urged the Government to force the ‘fast fashion’ retailers to do more to tackle forced labour, environmental destruction and excessive waste in the industry by reforming tax laws and requiring firms to contribute more towards the clean-up costs for waste garments.

The proposal included plans for levying one penny each for every fashion item sold, which could have raised £35m for a new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme that would help improve textile collection and recycling services across the country.

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) accused the Government of being “out of step with the public” and claimed urgent action is needed to make retailers take responsibility for the waste they create.

Textile production creates an estimated 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent each year, which is way more than international flights and maritime shipping combined.

Meanwhile, a report suggests the annual cost to the UK economy of landfills clothing and household textiles at about £82m.

The EAC called for SCAP membership to be a mandatory requirement for fashion firms with an annual turnover of more than £36m a year – a call the Government rejected in favour of its strategy to “encourage the wider industry” to take part in the scheme.

The Government also rejected suggestions from the EAC to ban the incineration or landfilling of unsold stock that can be reused or recycled, citing that it believes “positive approaches are required to find outlets for waste textiles rather than simply imposing a landfill ban.”

With the Government’s outright rejection of these ideas until 2025 at the earliest, it looks like the industry has been given yet another chance to clean up its act.

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