France’s clothing repair program to decrease fast fashion waste and encourage repair and reuse.
Fast Fashion is the design, manufacturing and marketing method focused on rapidly producing high volumes of clothing and selling them at inexpensive prices. Over the past few years, fast fashion has increased due to the affordability of many of these items. With fast fashion brands like H&M and Zara and now online brands like Shein taking over the fashion industry, fast fashion doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
The Fast Fashion Market is projected to reach over $280 million by 2030. Apparel consumption has reached 62 million tonnes a year and is expected to be 102 million tonnes a year by 2030. With the increase in the production of clothing, there is also an increase in the amount of waste produced as well.
Apparel companies produce 53 million tonnes of clothing annually. Over 57% of clothing produced and purchased ends up in landfills. The reason is due to the increase in production. These fast fashion brands use cheaper materials that are generally not made to last more than a year or even a season. Much of what is purchased isn’t worn and is either donated or dumped—with the rise of fast fashion, buying something new when articles rip or tear is cheaper than fixing it.
France’s clothing repair program is trying to change these habits and encourage people to fix their torn clothing. France’s clothing repair program intends to offer a repair bonus for people to mend their clothes. In France, over 772 000 tonnes of clothing are discarded annually, most of which are still wearable.
With France’s clothing repair program, people will receive a $6.73 to $28.05 credit for bringing their shoes and clothes to a cobbler or workshop to be mended. The monetary incentive will be based on the amount of mending that needs to be done. The government will fund the program with around $173 million in contributions over five years. This program aims to create a circular economy for shoes and textiles so that products last longer. This program will hopefully lower how money items people purchase and donate annually.
France’s clothing repair program is run by an eco-organization called Refashion. The organization manages the prevention of waste and management of the end of service life of products on over 5000 companies placing goods onto the market. Within France’s clothing repair program, tailors, clothing brands and repair shops can join the initiatives for free with the organizations.
The organization has reported that approximately 56% of donated textiles can be reused, while 32% can be recycled into new products. By raising awareness about these possibilities and incentivizing repairs, these schemes may actually encourage individuals to reconsider their buying habits. In France, clothing companies are now required to label items with information about the materials used and their country of origin. This will allow customers to make more informed choices and encourage them to shop sustainably.
France’s clothing repair program follows a similar initiative launched last year by the French government, which offered bonuses to individuals to repair their household appliances. In 2020, a law was passed to promote sustainable practices and consumption habits related to household goods.
If more people choose better quality clothing or consciously decide to have their clothing mended, the popularity of the fast fashion industry might begin to decrease. If people are rewarded for their environmental efforts, they will actually save money instead of constantly buying new clothing. It’s an initiative that could have a significant impact on the way we shop and consume. I’m interested to see how it will play out and if other countries will take on similar initiatives.