The year 2022 opens with good news for the circular transition of the fashion industry in Italy. Faced with the new obligation to separate collection of textile waste, which came into force on January 1st, the birth of the Retex Green consortium consisting of Italian manufacturers in the fashion sector has been announced. The official presentation was held on Tuesday, January 11th, during the inauguration of Pitti Immagine Uomo.

Getting up to speed with the new textile recycling requirement

The creation of the Retex Green consortium, sponsored by SMI – Sistema Moda Italia and the Italian Textile Foundation, had already been anticipated last November during a hearing of the Ecomafie Commission dedicated to the management and recycling of textile waste from the Italian supply chain. The president of SMI, Sergio Tamborini, outlined the general lines at the time, which were then detailed in a position paper sent to the Ministry of Ecological Transition.
Retex Green's mission is the “
optimized management of waste from the fashion world” and its launch coincides with the coming into force of the new obligation of separate collection of textiles. With Legislative Decree 116/2020, Italy has in fact anticipated by three years the implementation of one of the decrees contained in the “Package of Directives on the Circular Economy” adopted by the European Union, thus choosing to give a boost to the circular economy of the fashion sector.
The new consortium will therefore work in this direction, proposing the creation of a collective voluntary system of
extended producer responsibility (EPR) to manage post-consumer waste, anticipating the regulatory obligations that will derive from the future introduction of an EPR regime in Italy.
“In short,” Tamborini explains to
Renewable Matter, “we will try to encourage the mechanism whereby the consortium deals with product reuse and recycling and develops research and innovation, information and training activities on prevention and eco-design, while the companies on the market pay an environmental contribution to cover the costs of these activities. As far as collection is concerned, we will try to involve merchants and retail stores, while we are willing to collaborate with other operators, such as Federdistribuzione. Certainly it will be of primary importance to carry out a separate collection, which would indeed pass through the points of sale, but would also extend through a resumption of the so-called yellow bins in the municipal squares.”

How will the Retex Green consortium work

The new Retex Green consortium was born with ambitious and diversified program objectives. First of all, it aims to improve and maximize the separate collection of waste coming not only from textiles and clothing, but also from footwear and leather goods, meanwhile promoting waste prevention practices, industrial symbiosis and the use of recycled materials.
In addition to the activities carried out “in the field”, the consortium will also take care of
administrative support functions for members and will deal with communication initiatives, environmental education, research and development, eco-design.
As a first step, Retex Green will create
a network of selected operators who will take care, under the supervision of a “general contractor for waste management”, of all the phases of waste collection, selection, sorting, reuse, recycling and valorization.
A great synergy work that aims to network all the Made in Italy operators to render the fashion supply chain more and more circular.

Image: John Cameron (Unsplash)