Overall, the results show that processing costs, combined with the rigour of environmental standards in different countries, determine the direction of recyclable waste as commercial goods, with flows directed to countries with less stringent environmental standards and environmental rules (for example. B developing countries). In the fifth series of blogs on Circular Fashion, Josefine Koehler explains two possibilities of trade agreements in order to contribute to a global circular fashion economy. While a global cycle has the potential to benefit both parties, it is clear that exports of waste for recycling are currently at a higher level than the capacity of third countries to process them. The current situation is unsustainable and significantly hampers the implementation and implementation of the SDGs by third countries. Consideration should also be given to promoting trade in certain products and services within the same sector (for example. B environmental goods and services – EGS) or strengthening the EU regulatory framework in the context of sectoral trade (i.e. trade measures). A broad consideration of the aspects of the circular economy in the SEA reinforces this sectoral integration. A circular economy involves markets that encourage the reuse of products instead of removing them and then acquiring new resources. While a leap into a new economy seems possible, much more research is needed to determine the impact of EU circular textile policy on saving supply, as we found in our latest research note Circular Fashion and Textile Producing Countries7.
The action plan for a circular economy for a cleaner and more competitive Europe stresses that the EU cannot meet the ambitions of the European Green Agreement alone for a climate-friendly, resource-efficient and circular economy. The new action plan therefore confirms that the EU will continue to lead the way towards a global circular economy and will use its influence, expertise and financial resources to implement the 2030 sustainable development agenda in the EU and beyond. The lack of international definitions and standards for waste recycling and wider circulation significantly impedes the promotion of the benefits of the circular economy in trade. These aspects should be taken into account in the current debate on increasing international barriers to textile waste imports, such as anti-dumping measures that include semi-life products such as clean fibres, clippings and sorted textile residues. These are already imposed by China, India and Kenya10,11,12. This anti-dumping policy is the result of increased production and consumption in developing countries, making them less dependent on the EU and prioritising local waste management. The plan proposes the implementation of 15 measures to strengthen EU free trade agreements to improve the externalities of EU trade agreements with third countries. The pandemic has resulted in an increase in pollution from disposable products such as plastic masks and hand sanitizer bottles.