That Production and consumption of textile products continues to grow, as does its environmental impact due to low reuse, repair and recycling of materials. It is “a linear model characterized by low reuse, repair, and recycling rates […] and quality, durability and recyclability are often not prioritized in the design and manufacture of clothing” (Strategy for the Circularity and Sustainability of Textile Products of the European Commission, March 2022).
The CISUTAC Horizon Europe project was launched with the aim of removing the current bottlenecks in order to increase the circularity of textile products in Europe. AIMPLAS, Technological Institute of Plastics, participates in this new innovation project to improve the Circularity and sustainability in textiles and minimizing their impact Environment through the development of new large-scale, sustainable and inclusive value chains in Europe.
The project covers most branches of the textile sector and will work on two major families of materials that make up 90% of textile fiber materials, viz polyester and cotton or cellulosic fibers. In addition, it will focus on products from three sub-sectors that are currently creating bottlenecks in terms of circularity: Clothing, sportswear and articles for outdoor activities and workwear.
CISUTAC will take a holistic approach that includes the following technical, sectoral and socio-economic aspectsand will conduct three pilot tests to demonstrate the feasibility of the r-processesSeparation and dismantling, segregation (for reuse and recycling) and recycling of garments through recycling fiber by fiber to the design taking aspects of circularity into account.
To conduct these pilots, consortium partners will set up semi-automated workstations, analyze infrastructure and material flows, digitally enhance sorting operations (for reuse and recycling), and raise awareness among consumers and the textile industry.
Regarding the role of AIMPLAS in the CISUTAC project, the center will bring its experience in extraction technologies to remove dyes and other surface contaminants. This enables large-scale thermoplastic recycling of polyester textiles and, thanks to the integration of cleaning and decontamination steps, a wide range of textile waste can be used as input material.
CISUTAC is a Horizon Europe project co-funded by the European Union. It started on September 1st and lasts 48 months. Led by CENTEXBEL, a Belgian center for textile and plastics research, the project consists of other leading European institutions: ACR+, AIMPLAS, CIRCULAR SYSTEMS, KRINGWINKEL, DECATHLON, EREMA GROUP, EURATEX, GLOBAL TEXTILE SCHEME, INLECOM COMMERCIAL PATHWAYS, LENZING , OXFAM, PCH INNOVATIONS, RESEARCH INSTITUTES OF SWEDEN, RREUSE, SIOEN APPAREL, SÖDRA, STAM, TEXAID, TEXFOR, TEXTILE ETP, WAGENINGEN UNIVERSITY & RESEARCH and WARGÖN INNOVATION. Thanks to the diversity within the consortium, CISUTAC will cover the needs of the entire value chain in terms of experience and infrastructure. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program under contract number 101060375.