Destroyed or sold out: more and more clothes are not sold


2.3 billion pieces of clothing will probably be offered in Germany this year. According to experts, 10 to 20 percent of them are unsold – and often end up in garbage. Clothing is "becoming more and more a disposable item," says Environment Minister Schulze. She is planning a law for more sustainability.
More and more brand new clothes are destroyed or sold off in Germany. This year, around 2.3 billion garments would be offered in this country, reported the "Welt am Sonntag", citing the market research firm Euromonitor International. Up to ten percent of it – 230 million pieces – remained unsold in the retail sector, estimates the textile industry expert Michael Hauf of the industry consultants Hachmeister and Partner.

Other industry experts even assumed twice as much surplus, of about 460 million pieces, as the newspaper reported. What retailers do not sell ends up in recovery or incineration plants or as junk goods in countries outside the EU.

Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze spoke of a "fatal development". Clothes became "more and more a disposable item," said the SPD politician of the "Welt am Sonntag". Many clothes would only be bought for one season, cheaply produced and transported over long distances to Germany. The textile industry needs a "sustainability turnaround".

The Federal Government is currently working on an amendment to the Recycling Management Act. According to this, manufacturers should in future be required to have a duty of care vis-a-vis their goods, so that less surplus goods are produced and unsold goods are no longer destroyed as quickly as before. "Among other things, we want to make it legal for dealers to align their goods orders more closely to actual customer requirements and to avoid large overhangs," said Minister Schulze.

The Greens parliamentary group does not go far enough to revise the law because it relies on the manufacturers' free will. "This moves the solution to the problem of the" never-ending "day," said the Green Bundestag member and former Federal Consumer Protection Minister Renate Kunast.

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