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Digital Product Passports for Textiles

How do we make sustainable progress in one of the most polluting sectors? The textile industry has a lot to work on, but there are promising developments that can cause fundamental changes. Besides the obvious solution: creating less textile products, bio-based and recycled materials are becoming more and more commonplace within the industry. Dyeing and recycling technologies are becoming cleaner and more efficient, and legislation is forcing the industry to use better materials, design for reuse and comply with environmental, social and governance standards. Within this landscape of opportunities, Digital Product Passports (DPPs) for textiles might very well prove to be the technology that brings it all together. Enhancing end-of-use solutions and visualising the material composition and associated impacts of products can help both producing companies and consumers that want to make better choices.

DPPs for textiles

The Environmental Impact of the Textile Industry

The textile industry is one of the most resource-intensive and polluting sectors globally. Some figures that demonstrate the severity of the issue:

  • Carbon Emissions: The global fashion industry is responsible for approximately 10% of annual global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
  • Water Consumption: Textile production consumes around 93 billion cubic meters of water annually, which is equivalent to the water needs of five million people.
  • Waste Generation: Every year, the textile industry generates about 92 million tons of waste, much of which ends up in landfills.

In other words: something has to change.

Calculating the impacts and making fair comparisons

Being able to calculate the impacts of products, to then communicate about these impacts in DPPs, is a challenge. Performing a single Life Cycle Analysis can cost thousands of euros and take months, if not years. If we have the ambition to record all types of textiles that are being sold on the European Market in DPPs, that might not be the way to go. C_passport® makes it possible to calculate the impact of textile products based on the material composition, product composition and end of use solution. That process takes minutes, and even allows for a range of scopes to calculate with. This makes comparing textile products a lot easier as well. You can even alter the material composition of DPPs to calculate the change in impact directly. A great way to start contributing to our common goals: identifying the impact of products and improving with insights.

EU Targets for a Circular Economy

In response to the challenges that occur in the textiles industry and far beyond, the European Union has set ambitious targets to transition towards a circular economy and reduce waste. The EU’s Circular Economy Action Plan outlines several key objectives:

  • Textiles Strategy: By 2030, all textiles placed on the EU market should be durable, repairable, and recyclable, largely made of recycled fibers .
  • Waste Reduction: The EU aims to cut textile waste by 50% by 2030 through improved collection, recycling, and reuse practices .
  • Ecodesign Requirements: New ecodesign requirements laid out in the Ecodesign for Sustainable Products Regulation (ESPR) will ensure that textiles are produced with less environmental impact and are easier to recycle. The ESPR also includes the obligation for textiles sold on the European Market to be connected to a DPP from 2027 onwards.

Enhancing End-of-Use Solutions

One of the most compelling advantages of DPPs for textiles is their ability to improve end-of-use solutions. In traditional textile usecycles, garments often end up in landfills due to a lack of information on how to recycle or repurpose them. DPPs address this by offering detailed insights into the composition and recyclability of textiles. Here’s how:

  1. Facilitating Recycling and Upcycling: DPPs provide specific information about the fibers, dyes, and treatments used in a garment. This enables recyclers to identify the best methods for processing the materials, reducing waste and increasing the efficiency of recycling processes. Upcyclers can also use this information to transform old garments into new products, fostering a circular economy.
  2. Promoting Responsible End of Use treatments: With clear guidelines on how to dispose of or recycle products, consumers are more likely to follow sustainable practices. DPPs can connected to QR codes or RFID tags that link to detailed instructions, making it easier for users to engage in responsible disposal or recycling.
  3. Supporting Second-Hand Markets: Detailed product information enhances the value of second-hand items by providing potential buyers with insights into the product’s history and condition. This transparency can boost consumer confidence and encourage the purchase of pre-owned textiles, further extending the lifecycle and promoting next use of garments.
DPPs for textiles

Visualising Material Composition and Associated Impacts

DPPs visualise the material composition of textiles and their environmental impacts. This transparency is crucial for both consumers and businesses aiming to make more informed decisions.

  1. Transparency in Material Sourcing: DPPs can show the origins of raw materials, detailing their sourcing locations, methods, and certifications. This information is vital for consumers who prioritise ethical and sustainable products, as it allows them to choose items that align with their values.
  2. Assessing Environmental Impact: By documenting the environmental footprint of products, DPPs for textiles offer an easy way to learn about impacts. This includes data on water usage, carbon emissions, and energy use. Such transparency helps consumers understand the environmental cost of their purchases and encourages brands to adopt better practices.
  3. Enabling Sustainable Choices: With access to detailed material information, consumers can make better choices. For instance, they can opt for garments that last longer, are made from recycled or organic fibers, and those produced using low-impact dyes. Brands can also leverage this data to highlight their sustainability efforts and differentiate themselves in a competitive market.
  4. Empowering Innovations in Design: Designers and manufacturers can use insights from DPPs to innovate and create more sustainable products. By understanding which materials and processes have the least environmental impact, they can develop textiles that are both high-quality and sustainable.

C_passport® for textiles

Getting started with DPPs can seem like a big ask. Where do you find the data? And how do you implement large amounts of DPPs? That’s where we can help out. The first steps are easily made using C_passport® by Cirmar. All you need to know is what materials are used to create products, and their end of use solutions. Give our free trial a go, or get in touch to find out how to make sure you have a flying start.

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