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Farewell Fast Fashion:
The textile industry wants to become more sustainable

But how will it transform into a circular economy? From circular packaging to recycling old textiles, companies are keen to find new solutions to help them meet increasingly strict statutory requirements and set them apart as responsible trendsetters.

Since the turn of the millennium, global textile production has more than doubled as part of the never-ending quest to produce more, faster and cheaper. The term “fast fashion” is arguably more synonymous than any other with the dark side of globalisation and excessive, environmentally harmful consumption. Calls for a fundamental transformation of the industry are growing louder, with fashion companies increasingly required to minimise negative environmental and social impacts along their supply chains. Right now, these efforts are focused on packaging.

Anyone searching for an example of how major fashion labels can embrace sustainability and the circular economy need look no further than Marc Cain. Experts from Interzero analysed the international fashion house’s entire packaging portfolio and helped the company to optimise its recyclability. The result? From plastic coat hangers to shoeboxes, all Marc Cain packaging offers at least ‘good recyclability’ and has earned the “Made for Recycling Interzero” seal, making it fit for the market of tomorrow.

Other manufacturers would be well advised to follow this example and make their packaging more sustainable. The pressure to act is rising, not least in light of the planned Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR). Companies will soon be subject to an array of new requirements under this EU regulation, including several relating to the recyclability of packaging. The EU’s ambitious targets to reduce waste and introduce Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) affect all companies that place packaging in the European market.

The next step: scaling up textile recycling. Of course, optimising packaging for sustainability is not enough. In fact, the textile industry’s entire value chain is under scrutiny. Steadily rising volumes of textile waste pose a huge challenge, with almost six million tonnes of textiles thrown away in the EU every year — that’s around 11.3 kilograms per person. At present, only one percent of global textile waste makes it back into production via fibre-to-fibre recycling, leaving plenty of scope to the circular economy to make a difference.

EU regulations and directives such as the separate waste collection requirements being introduced in 2025, the Ecodesign Directive, and Extended Producer Responsibility are likely to provide a boost to textile recycling in the near future. Interzero is also keen to close raw material loops in the textile industry and is already developing solutions to help companies get ready for future EPR requirements. Together with its partners, the company is working to enable the scaling of fibre-to-fibre recycling by building and ensuring a suitable collection and sorting infrastructure. The aim is to provide a comprehensive industry solution that can work for everyone. “Transformation in the textile industry above all requires new system concepts and the willingness to cooperate on the part of key players along the entire textile value chain,” said Julia Haas, Project Manager of Circular Textiles at Interzero. Cheap, throwaway fashion is so last year — but circularity is one fashion trend that is here to stay!


"Interzero’s integrated consultancy services help us to apply our sustainability approach across all of our sales markets while meeting statutory requirements at the same time. Proactively switching to recyclable packaging is one move that will help us to avoid additional costs in the long run."

Robert Boland Director Logistics & Central Administration, Marc Cain

Our expert for Packaging & Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR)
Frank Kurrat
Frank Kurrat

Managing Director, Interzero Recycling Alliance

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Win-win – Shaping the circular economy