France is Banning Retailers From Throwing Away Unsold Clothes
Because living fashionably means living sustainably, too.
When it comes to fashion, the French know staying in season can come at a cost... and we're not talking money.
To help close the waste loop in the fashion industry-the second largest source of pollution in the world-the French government has just announced a plan to ban all fashion retailers from throwing out unsold clothes. The ban is set to take place next year.
Instead of filling landfills, clothing companies will be required to donate excess items to charities or recycling organizations where used textiles can be broken down into new raw materials. The ban is part of the country's larger plan to move towards a more circular, less disposable, economy.
In France alone, nearly 215,000 tons of clothes end up in the trash every year, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme. In the U.S., that number is closer to 10.5 million. And of all the clothing that Americans discard annually, a whopping 95 percent can actually be donated or recycled.
By finding ways to give old clothing a second life, you're also helping to keep more harsh chemicals (from colored clothing dyes), microplastics (from certain fibers), and waste water used in most clothing manufacturing out of the environment.
This isn't the country's first move towards a greener world either. Just two years ago, France became the first country to ban supermarkets nationwide from throwing out unsold food in an effort to fight food waste. In 2016, they officially banned single-use plastic bags and are planning to also nix the use of plastic forks, cups, and plates by 2020 to further reduce the effects of plastic pollution-proof that when it comes to stepping up to save the planet, the French just have that je ne sais quoi.
Feeling inspired to upcycle that old shirt? Watch how to do it here: