Clothing industry should be responsible for recycling, minister says

Close up of repaired jeans

The clothing industry rather than local authorities should be responsible for collecting and recycling old clothes in the Netherlands, junior infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven has told MPs in a briefing.

The textile industry, the minister said, is one of the most polluting on earth, producing more carbon dioxide emissions than air and sea travel added together. By making the industry responsible for recycling, there will be less pollution and less wastage, Van Veldhoven said.

The minister’s plans are based on a proposal drawn up by industry bodies InRetail and Modint and would come into effect in 2023, if approved by both houses of parliament.

Details of the plan, such as collection points and cost implications, still have to be worked out. However, all producers of consumer clothing, including those based abroad, should be covered by the proposals, the minister said.

The Dutch government earlier set a target to ensure that by 2030 half of all clothing is composed of recycled or fully sustainable textiles.

The Denim Deal, agreed last year, is a part of this. In that agreement, the signatories agreed to collaborate to find sustainable solutions to ‘close the production loop’.

In particular, they have committed to using a minimum of 5% recycled content in every pair of jeans and to create at least one million pairs of jeans with 20% post-consumer recycled material.

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