Insight into France’s recent regulation proposals and growing interest in textile EPR

France has become synonymous with the fashion industry, fostering an environment and image where clothing manufacturers, brands, designers and stylists have soared to new heights of accreditation. However, underneath the grand allure of luxury and design, the fashion industry has created an extensive list of problems that often earn them a place next to headline buzzwords such as micro-trends, overconsumption, pollution, and fast fashion. On a global scale the consumption of textiles is reaching an estimate of 62 million tonnes per year, with an unsettling prediction of increasing to 102 million tonnes annually by 2030[1],[2]. As experts and policy makers reveal the staggering issues accompanied with the economic growth of the fashion industry, the primary scapegoat is fast fashion and the consumption behaviour it creates. French officials have noted that ultra-fast and fast fashion retailers with their high turnover of styles and low prices are driving consumption behaviour and creating buying impulses and the need for renewal. Although fast fashion provides access to affordable clothing for a larger population, the environmental impact is detrimental. As the sector leans towards this trend with the creation of new retailers with this business model, there is a notable increase in textile extended producer responsibility (EPR) regulations, and this isn’t just in France.

France was the first European Union country to implement an EPR scheme for textiles that has set up Re-Fashion, a producer responsibility organisation, which has several requirements for obligated manufacturers and importers of textiles to ensure products are managed throughout their life cycle. This has given France the opportunity to develop an extensive EPR framework that requires obligated parties to register with the administrative authority, provide annual reports and pay eco-contribution fees. Closely followed by Sweden who implemented an EPR for textiles in 2022 and Denmark with an EPR scheme on the horizon for 2025. This growing interest in EPR for textiles places pressure on fashion manufacturers to apply stricter control measures in place in a sector that is largely unregulated.

Targeting Fast Fashion

In response to this growing bid to tackle fast fashion and the excessive consumption yet decreasing usage of textiles, France has introduced a variety of textile EPR with its most recent proposal directly targeting the fast fashion industry. On the 4th of March 2024, the Minister for the Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion held a meeting with various parties to discuss the proposal to combat fast fashion[3], which has now been unanimously approved by the lower house of French Parliament. While, awaiting final approvals from the senate, the provisional regulation objectives include introducing bans on advertising for fast fashion companies, the implementation of a bonus-malus system on clothing, environmental labelling and increase in environmental impact information.

The proposed environmental levy is a gradual increase of penalties up to 10 euros per item of clothing by 2030, making it effectively exorbitant for fast fashion companies that are known to release over 5000 new styles daily. This current business model makes it so that popular clothing companies that rely on predicting consumer preferences are not able to compete with the likes of fast fashion companies that have these extremely flexible and high quantity supply chains. Furthermore, the bill aims to use the bonus-malus system as an incentive, aiming to make sustainable clothes more affordable than clothes produced by fast fashion companies. Not only will the French legislation reduce the market gap between these companies, but it will also reduce the number of textiles and clothing that end up in landfills after a short shelf-life. The proposed ban on advertisement will apply to the companies and external social media influencers. As a part of this legislation, the bill aims to strengthen consumer information by making it mandatory for fast fashion companies to display a double message that raises awareness of their products’ environmental impact and encourage consumers to reuse their clothing items. The aim of this as well as relaunching the consultation on environmental labelling is to increase the transparency of the life cycle of the textile items to customers.

While this bill has received praise for its dedication to combat fast fashion, it has also been critiqued, stating that it will only reduce the purchasing power of French citizens in a period where consumers are facing rising costs and interest rates. Additionally, with the implementation of this bill the definition of fast fashion will need to be more structured and include factors such as a threshold that will indicate the quantity of new items/styles launched daily and their period offered for sales. Critics question whether the bill will incentivise sustainable small businesses or drive consumption back to well established brands[4].

Banning the Export of Textile Waste

In addition to the proposed fast fashion bill, France is leading the call to action, supported by Sweden and Denmark, urging the European Commission to ban the export of textile waste, namely hazardous textile waste, to developing countries[5]. Exporting over a million metric tonnes of textile waste to developing countries has been a longstanding practice in countries with strict legislation that essentially transfer their waste obligation burdens under the guise of a second-hand clothing distribution system. Although, developing countries attempt to recycle, resell, or reuse the imported used textiles over due to fragile and burdened waste infrastructure, 50% will be deposited in landfills that creates excessive pollution and severe health issues for local communities[6]. The export ban intends to reduce this economic and environmental burden on developing countries, while encouraging countries to manage their textile waste internally. In addition to the ban, the collective countries proposed that for instances of non-hazardous textile waste it should be required for exporting countries to obtain explicit consent from the importing countries to export the waste. This will open discussions between the countries on effective waste management of textiles and ensure that the importing party has sufficient capacity to manage the waste in an economically and environmentally sound manner. Supporting their argument in a powerful quote from France’s Environmental Ministry to Reuters “Africa must no longer be the dustbin of fast fashion,”5.

While France has become a prominent figure in the progress toward various textile EPR regulations, efforts to regulate this large unregulated sector have been increasing on an international level. Prime examples include the European Union’s (EU) proposed EPR for textiles that underwent a recent amendment stating that the regulation will be enforced within 18 months of the published date and the proposed inclusion of textile EPR in Canada and the United States across New York, Washington, and California. As the pressure to meet countries stated objectives of a circular economy increases, policy makers are holding fashion manufacturers accountable for their contribution to the over consumptive culture and excessive waste industry by proposing stricter regulations and promoting the idea of reuse, repair, and recycling.

The rapid rate at which EPR regulations are evolving can be frustrating for businesses that seek to make sense of how they might be affected by a potential law. Ecoveritas has and will continue to keep track of and interpret EPR regulations, along with other environmental law impacting packaging, textiles, electricals, batteries and wider sectors. Our exclusive Global EPR Matrix offers a unique insight into EPR laws that should educate you about your business’s obligations.

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[1]An Article on the New Textiles economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future

[2] An article on the environmental price of fast fashion

[3]Government proposal meeting for ‘From Ultra fast fashion to sustainable fashion’ Ultra fast fashion sustainable fashion | Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion (

[4] Vogue Business article on new Fast Fashion France bill Does France’s anti-fast fashion bill have legs? | Vogue Business

[5] Reuters article on proposed textile export penalties French lawmakers approve bill to apply penalties on fast fashion | Reuters

[6] Article on the effects of textile exports to developing countries Industrial and textile waste trade: Multilayer network and environmental policy effects – ScienceDirect