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Towards a sustainable and circular economy
At CasaGIN we believe that the current way of living and consuming in the world is no longer sustainable. We find ourselves living in a planet increasingly threatened by pollution, over-exploitation of natural resources and climate change. While the conscious and responsible consumption by people, states or industries can delay the depletion of resources, it is necessary to find and agree new ways to produce, use and dispose of products, such as fabrics. This is why Euratex, the European textile and clothing industry body, has made public the action plan for a circular economy with the aim of guaranteeing the sustainable use of resources and therefore facing environmental, social challenges and more urgent economic issues that are concerning the entire world population.
The detailed document is the result of extensive bottom-up consultation with Euratex members, national and industry associations and over 100 European fashion companies. Twelve key points are listed that can provide substantial contributions to the European Commission’s objectives towards a circular economy plan that starts in 2020.
Here are the 12 key points:
1. Develop more intense partnerships between EU authorities, NGOs, industries, farmers, retailers, waste managers and machine manufacturers with the aim of using each other’s skills and developing an action plan for the circular economy.
2. Stimulate the demand for recycled materials in order to lower their cost, which is still too high today, if compared with that of virgin materials. In order to activate, among other things, investments and partnerships.
3. The design of a circular product must be rewarded / encouraged / recommended.
4. Consumers must choose what is best for them and the environment. We need educated and responsible consumers who buy with conscience.
5. Develop assessments of the life cycle of the products / waste so as to understand how to reuse them if they are recycled or used for the development of renewable energy sources or other.
6. The lack of standardization for recycled materials and their quality, as well as the lack of criteria on waste management is a bottleneck. We need agreed European / global standards.
7. The collection and management of fabrics rejected by end users and factories is complex and time-consuming. Process improvement is necessary through organizational changes (partnerships), logistics optimization and new technologies.
8. Public procurement and supply chains can present significant opportunities. National, regional and local contractors can play a key role in encouraging a transition to circularity with their choices, giving signals to markets and rewarding efforts.
9. Products made from recycled materials must meet the same requirements as products made with virgin materials.
10. In all EU countries it is necessary to review national / local legislation on waste management to understand which obstacles to circularity must be removed and how to harmonize legislation.
11. To trigger public and private financing so as to create more infrastructure, develop research and innovation and generate places for the storage of recycled materials.
12. Encourage and enable new services promoted by the textile industry to consumers
A change towards a society that is more respectful of the ecosystem and more efficient on the use of raw materials certainly passes through all this. Resource-intensive consumption and production patterns, climate change, biodiversity and pollution are global challenges and require coordinated efforts. The European Union has already paved the way for revolutionary policies in the plastic value chain. This has shown how well-coordinated actions between business players, companies and Member States can implement change policies in less than 1 year. At CasaGIN we believe that all this is possible and we are already moving to make our production cycle more circular and sustainable. It is for this reason that we have selected recycled materials such as PET and Econyl to produce our more technical garments such as trekking socks and beachwear. Thanks to their properties, these materials allow us to save large quantities of energy because they are completely reusable. In the case of PET, plastic bottles are recycled. As for Econyl, our supplier companies recover waste such as fishing nets from the oceans and aquaculture, fabric scraps from mills and carpets destined for the landfill. In both cases the waste materials are taken to the recycling centers where, after a long process, they are transformed into flakes and yarns of such a high quality that they can be reused with characteristics such as strength, breathability, durability, sustainability and low environmental impact.