Sweden, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council, removed this ban from the draft text due to be signed off by member states ahead of negotiations with the European Parliament, leading to more ambitious countries blocking the agreement. “What stands out for us is that destroying consumer products should not be possible within the European economy, which strives to be circular,” one EU diplomat told EURACTIV. “This is unacceptable for a large group of countries, who are highly motivated to block a text without this ban,” the diplomat added.
According to several diplomatic sources, this group of countries includes Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands, and Belgium, making it big enough to form a blocking minority and prevent agreement on the law until the ban is reinstated. The ecodesign proposal was tabled by the European Commission in 2022 as a way to improve the circularity, energy performance and environmental sustainability aspects of certain products. It included the ban on destroying unsold and returned textiles, arguing this would cut down on waste and disincentivise overproduction.
The textile industry is the fourth largest user of primary raw materials and water and the fifth biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions, making it a key sector to tackle as Europe looks to move towards a more sustainable economy. “The destruction of unsold consumer products, such as textiles and footwear, by economic operators is becoming a widespread environmental problem across the Union, in particular due to the rapid growth of online sales,” the European Commission’s proposal said. “It amounts to a loss of valuable economic resources as goods are produced, transported and afterwards destroyed without ever being used for their intended purpose,” it added.
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