Earlier this year a viral Facebook photo of a clothing store in France destroying apparel sparked outrage — and Paris-based group Emmaus got involved. The organization working to end homelessness started tackling the clothing dilemma, and a recent Circular Economy Roadmap from the government proposes a solution: banning stores from chucking unsold clothes.

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Exposition de la poubelle de Celio, rue du Gros Horloge à Rouen. (Artiste inconnu).Celio jette ses vêtements …

Posted by Nathalie Beauval on Saturday, February 3, 2018

France’s Circular Economy Roadmap calls for applying the main principles of the food waste battle to the clothing industry by 2019; a 2016 law requires grocery stores to donate food instead of throwing it away. The government said in the roadmap they aim to ensure unsold textiles “are neither discarded nor eliminated.” So France could prohibit stores from trashing clothing that isn’t sold. Clothing stores might have to donate unsold wares instead.

Related: This Swedish power plant is burning H&M clothes instead of fossil fuels

Emmaus deputy director general Valérie Fayard told local research company Novethic while the details aren’t clear yet, as this is a roadmap presentation, it’s still good news. She said, “The deadline of 2019 will allow the government to launch an inventory of the situation, calculate the number of tonnages discarded, the processes put in place by brands, and difficulties.”

Shopping at a vintage clothing boutique in Tennessee

Prime Minister Édouard Philippe said by 2019, roadmap measures could be translated into legislation, according to Fashion Network.

Europe ditches four million tons of clothing every year, according to Fashion Network. Meanwhile, five million tons are placed on the market. France is one of Europe’s biggest fashion markets — but they throw away 700,000 tons of clothing per year and only recycle 160,000 tons.

Green Matters said France was “the first country to pass a law” preventing supermarkets and grocery stores from tossing out food nearing expiration.

+ Circular Economy Roadmap

Via Novethic, Green Matters, My Modern Met, and Fashion Network

Images via Alp Allen Altiner on Unsplash and Cam Morin on Unsplash