tExtended: an innovative approach to recycling textiles waste
It's estimated that less than 1% of textiles is currently recycled, so finding recycling solutions for textiles waste is a pressing challenge for Europe and indeed the whole world. The European Commission has identified textiles as a priority product for the circular economy, so technologies and infrastructures supporting this business model must be developed.
The tExtended project started in late 2022 and will meet this objective by developing and demonstrating effective textiles recovery, waste valorisation and recycling processes. These will be combined with digital tools and data-driven solutions to support sustainable circularity of textiles and maximise its impact.
AIMPLAS is taking part in this project together with around 20 other research institutes (from FI, SE, BE, PO, ES, IR, LV, SK, FR, CH) and will focus on digital tools and technologies for textiles recovery. AIMPLAS will be responsible for:
- identifying and classifying textiles using optical separation systems,
- pre-processing and recovering materials for recycling and recycling textiles waste via solvolysis, including industrial textiles products and polymer mixtures such as PES/PUR, and
- formulating and producing polyurethane coatings.
The tExtended project will optimise textiles flows and retain the value of materials in a safe and sustainable way. Extensive pilot studies will verify the replicability of the project's solutions and their potential to reduce textiles waste by 80%.
The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme (Grant Agreement No.101091575).
- tExtended's solutions will also have an impact on communities, creating new job opportunities and reducing waste and CO2 emissions. Local community stakeholders will be involved in developing the project’s solutions; their participation will ensure that the model is feasible and that there is a steady flow of second-hand textiles.
- The knowledge produced by tExtended on the circular economy as applied to the textiles industry will generate new business and strengthen competitiveness and resilience through sustainability and digitalisation, thus accelerating the green and digital transformation of the European textiles industry.