Everything starts with design. The choice for material, production processes, and purpose of use will determine a product’s environmental footprint.
We believe a clear set of EU-wide definitions is the first step towards harmonised measure of circular impacts through end-to-end product design.
The Higg Index is being developed by companies of all sizes to measure and score a company or product’s sustainability performance.
Eg: The Higg Index Product Tools will enable designers and developers to make better choices throughout production by predicting a product’s environmental impact.
Material choice, use and source can greatly affect the environmental impact measured.
The EU waste hierarchy is a good example of a clear EU-wide definition that enables designers and developers to make a more circular choice.
In order to design out waste, manufacturers need to be incentivised and able to track GHG emissions, chemicals, production waste & waste water.
A standardised way to measure sustainability performance will also contribute to clear consumer communication.
Together with policy makers, the industry will define a set of clear green claim guidelines to ensure consumers can make informed choices with comparable information based on harmonised standards.
There are numerous standards for recycling, such as the Global Recycling Standards or Recycled Claim Standard.
Clear standards and measurement will enable systematic clarification in trade agreements on what constitutes ‘waste’, ‘recycled material’ or ‘used clothing’.
A circular system will responsibly and efficiently collect and close loops after the use phase, prioritising reuse and high-value recycling and connecting secondary raw materials with production processes to reintroduce them whenever possible in new products.
The Policy Hub supports the European Commission’s initiative to address the challenge of textile waste and welcomes the consideration of extended producer responsibility (EPR) as an option to implement the regulatory requirement to separately collect textiles by 2025.
The value of creating circular business models has been recognised for many of the EU’s waste streams and within the circular economy agenda – from plastics to electronics to cars – thanks to the substantial benefits to be gained both in environmental and financial terms. Textiles have been identified as one of the waste streams with the highest untapped potential to implement circular practices.