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The French government has launched a new initiative known as the “repair bonus” scheme. This program encourages citizens to repair their damaged clothing and shoes instead of discarding them, by offering financial incentives for repair services. With an estimated 700,000 tonnes of clothing discarded in France annually, this initiative aims to address the alarming environmental impact of the fashion industry.

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Starting in October, individuals will be able to claim reimbursements ranging from €6 to €25 for the cost of mending clothes and shoes at participating repair workshops or cobblers. The scheme will be funded by a dedicated €154 million fund allocated for the next five years. Bérangère Couillard, the secretary of state for ecology, announced the initiative during her visit to a responsible fashion hub in Paris, emphasizing the importance of supporting repair services and revitalizing the job market in the process.

The repair bonus scheme is part of a broader effort by the French government to reform the textile industry and combat the detrimental effects of fast fashion. The textile industry is recognized as one of the most polluting sectors globally, contributing significantly to carbon emissions, water pollution, and waste generation. By incentivizing repairs, France hopes to encourage a shift towards a more circular economy, where resources are conserved, and the lifespan of products is extended.

Refashion is responsible for implementing and managing the repair bonus scheme. The organization’s objectives go beyond repair services, aiming to promote reduced consumption and textile donations. Refashion reports that approximately 56% of donated textiles can be reused, while 32% can be recycled into new products. By raising awareness about these possibilities and incentivizing repairs, the scheme encourages individuals to reconsider their buying habits and contribute to a more sustainable future.

This initiative follows a similar program introduced last year that offers bonuses to individuals who have their household appliances repaired. The French government has been actively pursuing measures to reduce waste, conserve natural resources, and address the climate crisis. In 2020, a law was passed to promote sustainable practices and consumption habits related to household goods. The legislation includes targets for waste reduction, reuse, and recycling, as well as the elimination of single-use plastics.

In line with these efforts, clothing and textile shops in France are now required to label items with information about the materials used and their country of origin. This transparency empowers consumers to make informed choices and encourages them to Support ethically produced and sustainable clothing.

France’s commitment to environmental stewardship extends beyond the fashion industry. The country has implemented a range of measures to combat waste and promote sustainability. Public buildings, such as railway stations, hospitals, and schools, were mandated to install water fountains in 2022. Additionally, since the beginning of this year, restaurants with over 20 seats and fast-food establishments have been prohibited from using disposable cutlery, plates, and cups for on-site meals.

Sign this petition to ask the United States to ban the burning of new, but unsold articles of clothing.

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