France To Ban Destruction Of Unsold Clothes And Electronics In 'World First'

France is on track to become the first country in the world to ban the destruction of unsold clothes and electronics.

More than AU $1 billion worth of unsold non-food goods is thrown away or destroyed in France each year, and with that figure on the rise, politicians are taking a stand.

Legislation has been introduced to parliament which would force companies to either donate or recycle unsold goods.

"We can avoid the scandalous waste of products and objects that are in perfectly good condition,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said.

The new laws are expected to pass in July, with the changes to come into force within the next four years.

The ban will largely affect luxury labels which choose to burn unsold items to keep their reputation intact, as well as large online retailers such as Amazon.

Luxury brands will be sure to notice the change. Photo: Getty

Mass-market companies tend to be more likely to mark down goods to clear shelves rather than actively destroying the products.

“Too many companies feel okay with just throwing away or destroying the shoes or the clothing that haven’t been sold,” French Deputy Ecology Minister Brune Poirson said in a press conference in 2018.

“You can’t do this anymore. It’s shocking," he added.

And so the bill was born.

It's not known if similar laws will be adopted around Europe, but Britain is under pressure to follow suit after Burberry admitted to destroying more than AU $51 million worth of unsold clothes, accessories and perfume in 2017 to protect its brand.

It was later revealed to be common practice in the industry.

Burberry destroyed more than $150 million in unsold goods in five years. Photo: Getty

It's the second drastic move France has made to minimise waste and destruction.

In 2016, the country became the first in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them to instead donate it.

The law meant that charities could hand out millions more free meals each year to those who struggle to put food on the table.

READ MORE: This Food Waste App Helps You Save The Planet And Money, Too

READ MORE: This Family Of Four Creates Just One Bag Of Rubbish A Month

Three years later,  Australian companies are starting to catch on.

On Tuesday, Woolworths pledged to ensure that every single store adopts a food waste program.

Instead of heading to landfill, leftover food will be sent to hunger-relief charity partners, farmers for feed, or commercial organic composting sites.