France Is Making Clothing Waste Go Out Of Fashion

The fashion industry in France has some skeletons in its closet. And the ugliest of them all? Clothing waste. 

When you think of environmentally-unfriendly industries, you may think of the oil and gas companies of the world. However, the fashion industry has quickly become one of the worst offenders. This industry feeds into a “one-and-done” mentality, which has created a growing clothing waste crisis.  

Take France, for example. The fashion industry here is grappling with a massive waste problem. Every year, 700,000 tons of clothing is thrown out. Only 1% of that will be recycled, and over 65% will end up in the landfill to rot. (That’s 455,000 tons a year.)

That’s a lot of clothing, but not a pretty sight!

Thankfully, organizations like One Tree at a Time are taking up the charge to tackle the issue and promote sustainable practices in the industry. 

One Tree at a Time: Leading the Charge Against Clothing Waste

This grassroots organization takes on the infamously eco-unfriendly fashion industry at the ground level. One of their primary goals is to help repair, clean, and service discarded clothing to give it a second chance at life. Currently, they’re able to reintroduce over 80% of their intake back into the community! At the same time, they help raise awareness about clothing waste and its environmental impact. 

Of course, grassroots efforts are great, but a problem of this magnitude needs solutions at every level—including the very top.

France’s Innovative Program: Incentivizing Clothing Repairs

You know who else has recognized the disastrous clothing waste crisis? The French government! They are currently set to launch an ingenious incentive program to encourage people to repair their clothes and shoes instead of discarding them. It’s part of a bigger push to reform t the textile sector, which is one of the planet’s most polluting industries.

Starting in October, consumers can claim financial rewards for repairing their damaged clothing items instead of throwing them away. The program will offer 7 euros for mending a heel and 10-25 euros for other clothing repairs. 

An impressive fund of 154 million euros has been set up, which will support the program all the way to 2028.

Partnerships for Progress: Collaboration with Refashion

France isn’t done yet! They have also partnered with Refashion, an eco-organization that promotes environmentally-responsible actions. With a massive influx of 3.3 billion pieces of clothing, shoes, and household linen introduced to the market in 2022, this collaboration aims to significantly reduce waste and drive positive change.

The more we can keep out of landfills, the more we can use to create new and refreshing materials—and the more we can cultivate a culture that values reuse and recycling.

Promoting a Circular Economy: A Vision for a Sustainable Future

France’s approach doesn’t just reward consumers. It also aims to propel the textile industry toward a circular economy model. The program includes measures to enhance traceability and financial support for organizations specialized in reusing and recycling clothing.

By valuing repair and recycling, France is setting a precedent for a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future. Could this be the future of the fight against clothing waste?

We hope so! As this program takes root, it could inspire other nations to follow suit and contribute to a cleaner, greener planet through responsible fashion practices.

Ready to try SWEEP on for size?

Interested in learning more about how the SWEEP certification process rewards municipal programs that promote citizen or industry repair programs and infrastructure through “tool libraries,” “repair cafes,” and corporate events? Comment below or reach out to us at

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