Warning for all textile companies: the Dutch EPR system is here on 1 July 2023

Making the fashion world more sustainable has been on the agenda with policy makers for several years now. Many steps are being taken on an EU level, but upcoming national legislation should not be overlooked.

1 July 2023 marks a significant next step in the Dutch regulatory framework for fashion companies and any other businesses bringing textile products onto the market in the Netherlands. On this date, the Dutch Extended Producer Responsibility Textiles Decree (Besluit uitgebreide producentenverantwoordelijkheid textiel) comes into force, setting off the 6-week deadline to comply with the first obligations of the Decree.

Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, refers to schemes that intend to make producers financially and operationally responsible for managing a suitable collection system for discarded products. Such systems for instance already exist in the Netherlands for batteries and electrical appliances, but are being introduced for textile products in the categories clothing and household linens as of 1 July 2023.

What are the main obligations under the new Dutch EPR Decree?

  • Within 6 weeks of the entry into force of the Decree, producers that fall within the scope of the Decree must notify the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, setting out amongst others how they intend to comply with the Decree.
  • Annually, producers will have to submit a report to the Ministry by 1 August of the subsequent year setting out the details of their compliance with the Decree. For the years 2023 and 2024, a report setting out the amount of textile products brought onto the market will suffice.
  • Producers must take measures aimed at using recycled textile fibres as far as possible in their textile products.
  • As of 2025, producers must ensure that an increasing percentage (by weight) of their textile products is prepared for reuse or recycling, starting with 50% in 2025 and reaching 75% in 2030.
  • Producers from outside the Netherlands must appoint a compliance representative in the Netherlands if they put textile products on the market in the Netherlands.
  • Producers will become financially responsible for setting up a suitable collection and processing system for discarded textile products.

Who does the EPR system apply to?

The Decree covers all newly manufactured textile products in the categories clothing and household linens, which are first put on the market in the Netherlands. Shoes are therefore not included, but for instance company clothing and table or bedlinen are.

It applies to all companies that qualify as producers within the meaning of the Decree. That is, all parties who professionally put textile products on the market in the Netherlands, regardless of the sales technique. Potentially, this could also cover importers and retailers, who would not normally consider themselves to be producers. And because of the wide scope of textile products involved, the Decree could also apply to companies that do not have textiles at the core of their business.

Are there any sanctions for non-compliance?

In case of non-compliance, the Dutch EPR Decree can be enforced through both administrative and criminal law sanctions. These measures may include administrative enforcement actions and incremental administrative penalties, but also criminal fines and other criminal sanctions.

What to do next?

There are only a few weeks left before the Decree’s first reporting deadline expires, so it’s high time for any company involved in the marketing of textile products in the Netherlands to get prepared.

Fortunately, not every company needs to figure out its compliance with the Dutch EPR Decree by itself. The Decree allows for notifications to be made jointly by a collective of producers. Over the past few years, trade bodies in the Netherlands have been actively working behind the scenes to set up a practical way to comply with the EPR regulations, and this has resulted in the founding of a specialised foundation – Stichting UPV Textiel – aimed at creating a countrywide collection and processing system and allowing producers to collectively meet their EPR obligations.

For any further guidance on your compliance with the Dutch EPR Decree, please contact Manon Rieger-Jansen or Nina Dorenbosch.

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