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Renew or die. Europe’s textile sector is moving towards a circular economy. 

The EU generates 12.6 million tonnes of textile waste per year. Clothing and footwear alone account for 5.2 million tonnes of waste, equivalent to 12 kg of waste per person each year. Currently, only 22% of post-consumer textile waste is collected separately for reuse or recycling, while the rest is often incinerated or landfilled. In this scenario, and given the urgent need to move towards a more sustainable and circular textile sector, entrepreneurship, innovation and technology play a leading role. 

The textile sector is the second most polluting industry in the world and the EU has set out to reduce the environmental and climate change impacts of textiles. To do so, it is crucial to shift towards circular business models to save on raw materials, energy, water and land use, emissions and waste. Implementing and scaling up circular business models requires technical, social and business model innovation, as well as policy, consumer and educational enablers.  

Not surprisingly, there are many European projects aimed at establishing sustainable practices in fashion and textiles. 

An example of this is the European project  

Promoting social innovation, sustainability and circular economy in the fashion and textile sector should be a priority for everyone.The future of the textile sector in the EU will be marked by sustainability, technology, customisation and adaptation to new forms of trade and regulation.Companies that can adapt to these changes and take advantage of emerging opportunities will be better positioned to succeed in the European textile market.The EU offers several programmes and funds to support the textile industry, funding for research and innovation, as well as initiatives to promote the internationalisation and competitiveness of European companies in the global market. European programmes such as COSME, LIFE, HORIZON, INTERREG open calls for proposals to finance projects pursuing these objectives.It is time to accelerate this transition towards a sustainable and circular textile industry.European funds are there for this purpose, and to apply for them is a question of finding good travelling companions.