European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP)

European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP)

The LIFE project ECAP ended in 2019. ECAP was striving to make the textile chain more sustainable and circular. ECAP worked on all kinds of steps in the chain: design, production, retail, government procurement, consumer behaviour, textile collection and recycling.

Rijkswaterstaat was responsible for work packages on fibre-to-fibre recycling, textile collection in large cities and circular procurement. ECAP has put textiles on the European agenda. At the end of 2021 the European Union will present a Textiles Strategy which contains several of the issues ECAP was working on.

Environmental impact

The environmental impact of textiles is high. It takes a lot of water to grow cotton and produce fabrics. Chemicals are needed for fertilisers, pesticides, cleaning, dyeing and finishing. Over 9 million tons of textiles are dumped and incinerated throughout Europe every year. By recycling textiles, fewer new raw materials are needed and water, chemicals and energy consumption are reduced.

The ECAP project aimed to reduce the amount of clothing dumped or incinerated in Europe by 90.000 tons per year by 2019. In addition, the project aims to save 588 million m3 in water consumption and 1.6 million tons of CO2 emissions. A summary report of the projects achievements can be found on the website ECAP.

Making the environment more sustainable

By taking part in this ECAP project, Rijkswaterstaat (as the Dutch government's executive agency for circular economy) was contributing to the task of making the environment more sustainable. 

Rijkswaterstaat uses the knowledge and experience gained from the project to carry out other textile projects at national level for the Policy programme for circular textile 2020-2025 of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. At European level, Rijkswaterstaat is part of a leading group of countries and organisations that make textiles more sustainable.

Project period


European programme


Project website

Website ECAP