Feds launch textile waste consultation

The federal government has launched a consultation to solicit feedback on the development of a roadmap to address plastic waste and pollution from the textile and apparel sector.

Building on the early interest and engagement from key stakeholders in the sector, the consultation document suggests a waste-management approach that keeps textiles and apparel in the circular economy for as long as possible. Prioritization will focus on the redesign, reduction, reuse, repair, and recycling of products over energy recovery and landfilling.

In Canada collection and recycling of textiles is limited and approximately 98 percent of plastic textile waste ends up in landfills. In addition, about 878 tonnes of microfibres are released from synthetic textiles during laundering into fresh and marine waters in Canada and the United States annually.

According to Statistics Canada’s Physical Flow Account for Plastic Material, around 290 kilotons of synthetic textile products (for example, made of polyester, nylon, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and/or acrylic) were purchased in Canada in 2020. In that same year, around 280 kilotons were discarded as waste.

“We are now reflecting on how we can prevent textile and apparel waste from going to landfill, being incinerated, or leaking into the environment as pollution,” said Steven Guilbeault, minister of environment and climate change.

“Addressing plastic waste and pollution in all sectors of our economy is the key to protecting the planet and creating a greener and prosperous future, while keeping plastics in the economy and out of the environment.”

Canada’sĀ Federal Plastics Registry will collect data on plastics in textiles, including quantities of textiles placed on the market and their end-of-life management.

Until September 1, 2024, Canadians and interested parties are invited to comment on the consultation document and provide feedback. Comments received will help develop the draft roadmap to be published later this year.