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French consumers to be financially rewarded for repairing clothes

Roman Spiridonov on Unsplash

The French secretary of state for ecology has announced financial incentives for people willing to repair clothes and shoes, as part of a new initiative to cut waste.

During a visit to a responsible fashion hub in Paris, Bérangère Couillard explained that from October 2023 the scheme will see people able to claim back between €6 (£5) and €25 (£21) of the cost of mending clothes and shoes in workshops or at cobblers.

The recently published RetailX France Ecommerce Country 2023 Report highlighted a move towards sustainability by French consumers, with many looking to retailers to reduce the environmental impact and promote eco-friendly products. Ethical fashion is gaining popularity.

Around 38% of French shoppers said it is important to them that brands and retailers act in an environmentally sustainable way, and 22% claim they actively seek brands that demonstrate ethical and sustainable practices.

Furthermore, 27% of French consumers in the research said they would pay more for items produced and transported in a way that doesn’t harm the environment.

This latest scheme will see consumers play their part in reducing that harm. It is estimated that 700,000 tonnes of clothing is thrown away in France every year, two-thirds ending up in landfill.

“The goal is to support those who carry out repairs,” Couillard said during the announcement.

The repair initiative, which will be paid from a €154m fund the government has set aside for the next five years, will be run in partnership with textile, household linen and footwear industry’s eco-organisation Refashion.

Refashion hopes to encourage people not only to repair and reuse, but to reduce the amount of textiles they buy. It also invites French consumers to donate fashion they no longer want. It reported that 56% of the donations can be used again, while 32% can be recycled into something new.

The repair bonus scheme is part of a wider push by the French government, starting at the end of last year, to reform the textile industry.

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