When we think about recycling, fashion usually isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, with trends coming and going, we really should be aware of the life cycle of what we wear. The U.K. parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is now trying to bring more awareness to the waste we make as we try to keep up with fashion trends.
A report by the EAC shows that the UK consumes the most new clothing in all of Europe, which means it sees a lot of turnover. According to Harpers Bazaar, through their research EAC found that almost $250 million CAD worth of clothing ends up in the landfill every year. To try and combat the problem they would like to see a penny tax on all new clothing. This would mean that retailers would have to pay a tax of one penny per every new garment. Through this tax they could raise over $60 million CAD a year for more collections and better recycling practices.
In an effort to help make the fashion industry more sustainable, the EAC is calling on the government to implement a law to hold retailers responsible for their waste. Much like in the automotive industry where companies are forced to take back their batteries, the EAC believes the same should happen with clothes. They believe that companies producing clothing with a lower environmental impact should reap rewards while those who don’t get penalised.
It’s not only on the companies to create more sustainable and durable clothing but also on consumers to buy less, repair clothing when possible, and try to reuse clothing before considering recycling. British fashion has taken a lead but to make a real difference, others need to follow.