Lisa Schwarz Bour
A revolutionary legislation for a textile industry that needs to become more sustainable. That's how Lisa Schwarz Bour, Director of Environment and Sustainable Chemistry at RISE, describes the ESPR - Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulations. An important novelty is the requirement for a digital product passport, in which companies must disclose the materials a product contains and how it can be repaired and recycled. From 2027, all companies within the EU are obligated to comply with ESPR.
Significant changes are expected in the textile industry in the coming years. Powerful measures are being taken to increase textile recycling. From 2025, it is prohibited within the EU to discard or send unsold clothes, shoes, and textiles for incineration. According to the EU Commission, the average EU citizen currently throws away 11 kilograms of textiles each year.
The ESPR, Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation, is a framework aimed at adapting products for climate neutrality and a circular economy, as well as making sustainable products the norm within the EU. The legislative proposal was published in March 2022. Currently, work is underway to prioritize product categories for the part of the law that includes digital product passports, which require companies to share information related to environment and sustainability.
"The ESPR is a revolutionary legislation. It is very comprehensive and affects every part of the textile industry. It also intends to help consumers make more sustainable choices," says Lisa Schwarz Bour.
She sees several advantages with the new law, such as the introduction of a common system for increased traceability.
"Textile materials are often very complex. In order to achieve a high value on a recycled raw material, we need to know more than we do today about the original material. To effectively recycle a material, one may need access to information on how it has been constructed or what type of dyeing has been used, for example."
In order to achieve a high value on a recycled raw material, we need to know more than we do today about the original material.
So what should a Swedish company do if it wants to prepare for - and also influence - the new legislation? A good start is to learn more about the contents of the legislation. All the information is publicly available.
You can also contact RISE if you have questions and want to know more.
The EU Commission has so-called stakeholder consultations that are open and where companies themselves can provide input.
Lisa Schwarz Bour:
"To prepare, companies can begin by discussing the contents of the legislation, and how it may affect them and future products, with their subcontractors and customers."
RISE is actively working with the ESPR, and especially with the digital product passports. In order to influence the product-specific requirements, RISE participates as an associated partner in the EU-funded project CIRPASS, which helps designing the passports. RISE is primarily interested in the level of detail in the information that is to be shared.
In March 2022, the EU adopted a textile strategy that requires the textile industry to become more socially and environmentally sustainable.
"The ESPR covers parts of the strategy, which expresses a strong desire within the EU to move from fast fashion to more long-lasting materials and products that prioritize sustainability and consumer needs," says Lisa Schwarz Bour."
In parallel with the ESPR, RISE is actively working on developing sustainable and long-lasting materials. Within the textile field, tests and chemical analyses of textile materials, fiber development, as well as chemical and mechanical recycling, are underway. RISE is also examining sustainability aspects related to process and product, through methods such as life cycle analysis.
"In addition to that, we support companies in related matters. Through the Chemicals Group at RISE, one can receive assistance in communicating relevant chemical requirements to subcontractors and in addressing questions and demands from consumers or the media," says Lisa Schwarz Bour.
A legislative proposal from the EU Commission aimed at making products more sustainable. It covers all types of products on the market except for food, animal feed, and pharmaceuticals. The legislative proposal is expected to lead to new product designs as well as changes in manufacturing processes and business models. The law is expected to be adopted in 2024, and digital product passports will be implemented in 2026. From 2027, all affected companies are obligated to provide this type of product information.
Follow the link below, to read more about how RISE can assist your company in meeting the upcoming legal requirements and transitioning into circular and sustainable materials.