Textile waste

Petition: 442

Issue(s): Compliance and enforcement; Corporate social responsibility; Science and technology; Waste management

Petitioner(s): A Canadian resident

Petitioner Location(s): Gatineau, Quebec

Date Received: 15 April 2020

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition expresses concern about textile waste management in Canada, stating that the Canadian fashion industry is destroying unsold clothes and sending them to landfill sites to avoid tax consequences. The petition cites the Customs Tariff legislation and claims that this act is problematic from a waste reduction perspective. The petition says that Canadian laws authorize a tax refund for obsolete or surplus goods imported into Canada that have not been sold or used in Canada. However, according to the petition, companies do not donate such goods because donated goods are considered to have been used in Canada and are thus taxable. The petition states that, as a result, companies destroy these products and send them to landfills instead of donating them.

The petition calls on the federal government to modify the Customs Tariff legislation by including a textile waste tax to encourage companies to donate and reuse unsold textiles rather than destroy them or throw them away. It also suggests introducing a textile quality law that would categorize textiles according to quality and durability. The petition proposes a tiered tax system for textiles, whereby lower quality and less durable material would be taxed at a higher rate. The petition reasons that these new measures would encourage companies to use higher-quality material to ensure their textile products last longer, thereby reducing the amount of waste produced.

The petition states that the fashion industry should move from a linear economy model to a circular model to reduce resource usage. It asks whether the government will introduce a textile recycling system for Canada to reduce the amount of textile waste and for an explanation as to why or why not this option will be pursued.

Federal Departments Responsible for Reply: Finance Canada; Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada