The European Commission criteria for awarding the Ecolabel to textile products has recently announced restrictions on hazardous chemicals in the manufacturing process.
To be awarded the label, manufacturers must ensure that products and production recipes do not contain hazardous substances listed in the restricted substance list (RSL) at, or above, the specified concentration limits, or according to the specified restrictions. They are required to put together their own individual RSL, which covers any regulatory or preferential list of unwanted substances. This will also have to specify the verification and testing requirements for each production stage and for the final product.
The list must be communicated to suppliers and agents responsible for the spinning, dyeing, printing and finishing stages of production, who will then have to comply with it.
In addition, where required, laboratory testing based on random sampling must be carried out for each product line. The Ecolabel criteria say that testing must be carried out annually during the license period in order to demonstrate ongoing compliance with the RSL.
The criterion also state that final products must not contain substances of very high concern (SVHC), or those on the candidate list.
Although it did not comment directly on individual criteria, the European Apparel and Textiles Confederation (Euratex) says that many aspects of the Ecolabel criteria are unlikely to encourage companies to apply. It says that some aspects may even act as barrier.
“Some of the criteria are not really workable in practice and this is stemming from the philosophy of the Ecolabel, which is to go beyond the legislation. But we would prefer to stick to legislation. Ecolabel is being too enthusiastic and companies cannot fulfil some of the proposed criteria,” says Euratex.