The fashion industry would have to contribute to the cost of recycling clothes under Government proposals to cut textile waste.
Better design and labelling are also part of a consultation on an Extended Producer Responsibility scheme to ramp up the reuse and recycling of textiles and hold manufacturers accountable for textile waste.
The fashion industry is estimated to account for 4% of annual global carbon emissions, while textiles production leads to greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the emissions of France, Germany and the UK.
The amount of clothing bought by consumers increased by almost 20% between 2012 and 2016, and around 921,000 tonnes of used textiles are thrown out by households every year.
The plans are part of the Waste Prevention Programme for England which sets out how the Government and industry can take action across the construction, textiles, furniture and electrical and electronics sectors – as well as road vehicles, packaging, plastics and single-use items and food.
Following the ban of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds and microbeads in rinse-off personal care products in England, the Government said it will consult on potential bans of other single use items.
Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Major retailers and fashion brands have made huge strides in reducing their environmental footprint but there is more we must do.
“That is why, through our world-leading Environment Bill and landmark reforms, we will take steps to tackle fast fashion by incentivising recycling and encouraging innovation in new design.”
Marcus Gover, chief executive of waste and resources body Wrap, said: “Wrap welcomes the focus this consultation brings on the need to create a more circular economy. We will not achieve net zero without taking action on the way we produce, use and dispose of the products we rely on to live our lives.”
Pete Belk, circular economy campaign director at Business in the Community, said: “We welcome the Government’s focus on reuse, repair and re-manufacturing in key sectors like textiles, construction and food.
“We want business to embrace the opportunities to avoid carbon, reduce material use and create green jobs by embracing the opportunities set out in the Waste Prevention Programme.”