Posted on 12/06/2008 in category Textiles



Brussels, 12thJune 2008

2008World Recycling Convention &

BIR’s60thAnniversary Celebration

MonteCarlo, 2-4 June 2008


Frencheco-levy still controversial

The controversial issue ofFrance’sproposed eco-levy on new clothes and shoes once again provided thefocus for the meeting of the BIR Textiles Division. Guest speakerBertrand Paillat, Director General of the French Chamber of Commerce,stressed in Monte-Carlo that the aim of this initiative was to morethan double 2005 sorting volumes to 130 000 tonnes by the year 2011 -but without creating “unfair competition”. Levy money would alsobe used to support research into, for example, the best outlets forthe sorted textiles.

The decree on the eco-taxwasanticipated for mid-June this year while initial contributions fromorganisations responsible for putting new clothes and shoes on themarket were expected towards the end of 2008, according to MrPaillat. At this point, however, there is still considerable concernamong some textile recyclers that the new levy will disrupt thetextiles recycling market to the disadvantage of establishedcommercial enterprises.

In a review of marketconditions, BIRTextiles Division President Olaf Rintsch of Textil RecyclingK&AWenkhaus GmbH in Germany noted that 20% price increases for originalshad been “wiped out” by higher fuel and buying-in costs. At thesame time, sales of used clothing into Africa and Pakistan had beenadversely affected by a reduction in customers’ purchasing powerand by their greater selectivity.

Honorary President Klaus Löwerof Hans Löwer Recycling GmbH in Germany laterlamented:“Energy and transport cost increases cannot be passed on.”

Terry Ralph of the TextileRecyclingAssociation in the UK acknowledged the organisation’s continuingwork with the Campaign for Real Recycling which aims to supportsource-segregated over co-mingled collections. He insisted: “Anytextiles collected along with other wastes in the same containercannot be effectively recycled.”

An emerging initiative intheNetherlands was outlined by Hans Brak of Vereniging HerwinningTextiel: the Jeans for Jeans - or J4J - project focuses on the“cradle-to-cradle” concept of turning post-consumer clothing intonew clothes. Members had discovered that the production of jeans andother clothing from 100% recycled textiles led to energy savings of53%, as well as to a reduction in water and chemical consumption of,respectively, 99% and 88%, he said.

The other guest speaker atthe BIRTextiles Division meeting in Monte-Carlo was Dr Andreas Jaron fromthe German Ministry of the Environment. Having emphasised theimportance of environmentally sound management and the closing ofglobal material cycles, he added: “We need to find a quick and easyway to define end-of-waste for textiles.” BIR’s Environmental &Technical Director Ross Bartley pointed out that textiles appeared onthe “indicative list” of recyclables to be considered at EU levelin the context of when a waste ceases to be a waste.

According to the division’sGeneralDelegate Alexander Gläser of FachverbandTextil-RecyclingeV, collected used clothing should not be considered as a wastebecause the public placed items in special containers in the fullknowledge that this act represented “a donation” and would“benefit someone”. If people were indifferent to the destinationof their used clothing, they would consign it to the refuse binrather than take it to a collection point, he argued.


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Elisabeth Christ
BIR Communications Director
Tel: + 32 2 627 57 70

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