Finding recycling solutions for textile waste is a pressing challenge across the globe, as it is estimated that less than 1% of textiles are currently recycled. At the same time, the European Commission has identified textiles as a priority product for the circular economy, making it necessary to expand technologies and infrastructures that support that model.
The tExtended project started in December 2022 and will achieve this objective by developing and demonstrating effective textile recovery, waste valorization and recycling processes. These processes will be combined with digital tools and data-driven solutions to support sustainable circularity of textiles and maximize its impact.
AIMPLAS, a Spanish plastics technology center, will be in charge of the identification and classification of textiles using optical separation systems; the preprocessing and recovery of materials for recycling; the recycling of textile waste through the solvolysis process, including industrial textile products and polymer mixtures; and the formulation and production of polyurethane coatings.
“We are effectively looking to create a master plan for a sustainable textile ecosystem. The tExtended project will optimize textile flows and retain the value of materials in a safe and sustainable way. Through our extensive pilot studies, we will verify the replicability of the tExtended solutions and their potential to reduce textile waste by 80%,” says tExtended project coordinator Dr. Pirjo Heikkilä from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.