Calls to put a penny tax on new clothes to help end era of fast fashion
PUBLISHED: 07:08 19 February 2019
Retailers and fashion producers should have to pay a penny per garment to fund better clothing recycling in a bid to end throwaway fashion, a group of MPs has suggested.
Every year, the UK buys more clothes per person than any other country in Europe and £140m worth of clothes are sent to landfill.
Now, a report by The Environmental Audit Committee (ECA) called Fixing Fashion: clothing consumption and sustainability is calling on the government to make retailers take responsibility for the waste they create by offering “clear economic incentives” to encourage retailers to “do the right thing”.
In its report, the ECA said an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme for textiles -which would see producers pay a penny per garment- could raise £35 million for better clothing collection and sorting, which in turn could create new “green” jobs.
Their report also recommended retailers with a turnover of more than £36 million be made to comply with environmental targets, as the voluntary approach to improving sustainability is “failing”.
Mary Creagh, chairwoman of the committee, said: “Fashion shouldn’t cost the earth. Our insatiable appetite for clothes comes with a huge social and environmental price tag: carbon emissions, water use, chemical and plastic pollution are all destroying our environment.
“In the UK we buy more clothes per person than any other country in Europe. ‘Fast fashion’ means we over consume and under use clothes. As a result, we get rid of over a million tonnes of clothes, with £140 million worth going to landfill, every year.
“Fashion retailers must take responsibility for the clothes they produce. That means asking producers to consider and pay for the end of life process for their products through a new Extended Producer Responsibility scheme.
“The Government must act to end the era of throwaway fashion by incentivising companies that offer sustainable designs and repair services.
“Children should be taught the joy of making and mending clothes in school as an antidote to anxiety and the mental health crisis in teenagers. Consumers must play their part by buying less, mending, renting and sharing more.”