French paid to forgo fast fashion in favour of fixing

By Pamela Jolly  August 3rd, 2023

The French government is incentivising their people to repair shoes and clothes in an effort to reduce textile waste.

The French are taking a proactive approach to combat textile waste and promote sustainable fashion practices. Starting from October 2023, residents of France will have the opportunity to receive financial incentives for repairing their shoes and clothing.

It's all part of a pilot program spearheaded by the not-for-profit organisation, Refashion. The initiative aims to reduce the country's staggering 700,000 tonnes of textile waste discarded each year, with a significant portion ending up in landfill.

Under the program individuals can claim payments for specific repairs. Around seven euros is awarded for mending a shoe heel and varying amounts, ranging from 10 to 25 euros, for clothing repairs like replacing lining.

By providing these monetary incentives, the French government hopes to encourage citizens to repair existing items rather than buying new or fast fashion items that contribute to the growing textile waste problem.

The pilot program is just one aspect of a broader plan established under the government's anti-waste law for a circular economy, which was introduced in 2020. This comprehensive legislation focuses on five key areas:

  • Phasing out disposable plastics

  • Ensuring transparent information for consumers on environmental impact and durability to encourage more sustainable choices.

  • Promoting reuse over waste so product lifecycles are prolonged and waste generation reduced.

  • Combating planned obsolescence to prevent premature replacements and promote durable, long-lasting options.

  • Enhancing resource management throughout a product's lifecycle.

France has already taken steps towards reducing overconsumption and waste. It was the first country to prohibit the destruction of unsold non-food products, mandating that they be reused, donated, or recycled. This move was aimed at discouraging companies that preferred incinerating or sending unsold goods to landfill rather than offering them at discounted rates.

France was also the first country to introduce a mandatory repairability index so that consumers could have a better understanding at the point of purchase how repairable different electronic and electric products like smartphones, laptops, washing machines, and televisions are.

The movement against overconsumption and fast fashion is not exclusive to France. Visible mending is a growing global trend that advocates enhancing clothing through repair, rather than discarding it. This movement not only preserves clothes but also fosters a deeper emotional connection with them. By embracing visible mending and repair practices to prolong the usable life of clothes, individuals worldwide can reduce textile waste and promote a more sustainable appreciative approach to fashion.

How to start mending your clothes

Experienced mender Renae Coles says you don’t need to learn any complicated techniques to get started. A simple running stitch can be used to sew a fabric patch over a tear or stain for a quick repair and there’s lots of tutorials online that can guide you through this.

Renae suggests:

  • Start your mending journey with a simple mend. Pick something simple like a missing button or unravelling hem.

  • Save old t-shirts to cut out patches for when your favourite tee gets a stain or hole (also great for socks and leggings). T-shirt fabric is knitted, rather than woven, meaning the edges can be left raw and they won’t unravel.

  • Consider mending as a chance to enhance a beloved piece and turn a repair into a feature.  You can use techniques such as embroidery or Sashiko stitches, darning or playful patchwork to make a loved piece of clothing even more special.

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.

Pamela Jolly

Pamela is a Marketing Communications professional with over 10 years experience working for both agencies and organisations in communications, travel, finance and retail industries. Pamela loves to be in nature riding a bike, skiing, appreciating the trees at her local park or exploring wild places abroad with her family.

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