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‘It’s cheap rubbish that falls apart’ – Calls for fast fashion tax

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Calls have been made for a tax to be placed on fast fashion products entering Ireland which has been described as “cheap rubbish that falls apart”.

It would follow a bill approved by the lower house of French parliament this week that will see cheap and discardable clothing hit with a €10 levy per garment by 2030.

The French Government is also considering other measures such as an advertising ban on low-cost fast fashion products, that are often mass-produced in China.

On Lunchtime Live today, sustainability teacher Barbara Connolly said the proposed measures were “fantastic” and should be considered in Ireland.

“There is an Empire State Building and a half worth of textiles being disposed of in landfills or incinerated every day,” she said.

“80% of the textiles we throw into our charity shop or a bin in our car park is going to landfill or to be incinerated.

“The charity shop can’t sell cheap rubbish and clothing that falls apart.”

Children influenced

Ms Connolly said the children are also being negatively influenced by fast fashion.

“I teach sustainability in schools and students openly tell me they are being led by influencers into buying fast fashion,” she said.

“They say there is a girl they follow who is beautiful and they’re buying into the lifestyle of these people who are wearing fast fashion products.

“What we need to do is educate the consumer so we become conscious consumers.”

Intentions

Ms Connolly said she remains sceptical of the French Government’s intentions.

“For France to bring out something like this and put the spotlight on it is fantastic,” she said.

“But most of the experts in the business end of fashion are actually saying the French are trying to ring-fence their fashion industry in Europe.

“They are trying to circle the wagon around fast fashion companies like Shein and Temu – they produce 7,000 new products every day.”

A woman tries on clothing. Image: Alamy.

Lunchtime Live caller Susan said some people can only afford fast fashion clothing.

“Sometimes you don’t want to be spending more than €15 or €20 on a t-shirt,” she said.

“Sometimes it is the case you need to buy something cheap and this would be punishing people for not having the money to buy more expensive clothes.

“Is this the right way to stop people from overconsuming?”

You can listen back here:

Main image: Crowded clearance section in a clothing store.  Image: (Sundry Photography / Alamy Stock Photo)

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