Circular Economy

Changing how we make, use and dispose of textiles

An economy is circular when the value of products, materials and resources is kept in, for as long as possible. The generation of waste is reduced, and recycling is a reality. For the textile sector, in particular, circular economy implies also new ways of designing, making, producing and choosing products.

The European textile industry has been pioneering new types of sustainable products and re-using different types of materials, such as jeans or plastic bottles. These examples are the avant-garde of circular textile, and yet, higher costs, technical difficulties and legislation limit the number of cases.

These business cases though are good example:

Yarn with high incorporation of recycled cork.

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100% recycled fabrics and fashion made from mainly post-consumer blended textile waste.

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Corporate garment made by combining recycled textile and recycled PET.

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To view more business cases, you can take a look at the dedicated webpage built in cooperation with BusinessEurope. 

While the industry is working on making circularity a reality, the EU is pioneering policies for sustainable goods and production. The main reference is the action plan on circular economy, released in March 2020. The action plan aims at changing the way products are made and consumed, by focusing on some key sectors like the textile. In particular, the EU proposes to work on a European Strategy for textile by 2021. The strategy can be a great opportunity, as long as it fixes real challenges and does not neglect SMEs.

Such is the position of EURATEX and its members. In the past years, EURATEX conducted an extensive bottom-up consultation, which resulted in a strategy that spots problems, proposes new solutions, rethinks the global textile value chains and thrive in a circular economy.

Actions to make circular economy a reality


Can a company change the business only by itself?

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Can textile materials be reused in the same or other value chains?

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Businesses and authorities look for different types of data: how can SMEs cope with that?

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What is waste? What is good quality recycled material?

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How do we change the way people buy, going beyond price and style? Can consumers read everything?

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99% of the textile industries in Europe are SMEs. Wouldn’t it be better an approach that fits them?

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How can we best invest in better products and processes?

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Can a company sustain a cost increase of 50% for testing its products?

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How do you trigger the right changes and avoid collateral damages?

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The EURATEX strategy features:
12 key points to make the EU Textile Circular Economy happen, such as partnerships, higher demand and education of consumers.
6 conditions to allow the achievement of circular economy, throughout all the 12 key points.
38 specific proposals under the above 9 actions.
– Voluntary Commitments signed by 41 companies and 2 industry associations

EURATEX cooperates with many players of the textile value chain from chemical industries and research organisations, to fashion brands . Examples are:
– A manifesto to deliver a circular economy in textile
Cross Industry Agreement on microplastics

Moreover, EURATEX contributes to the “Extended Producer Responsibility” (EPR) policy debate. Besides talks with the European institutions and stakeholders, EURATEX published a position paper that summarises 7 recommendations to all:
1. EPR should be designed to support circularity
2. EPR should value different Textiles
3. EPR should solve real problems
4. No contradictions in EPR schemes for textiles across the EU
5. There should be agreement for 1 single Eco-modulation concept
6. EPRs scheme should not bear detrimental unintended consequences
7. EPR should enable CE through cooperation and shared responsibility

Our Initiatives

EURATEX developed a strategy to boost circular economy in the textile sector and, as part of it, an initiative to build Recycling Hubs across Europe.