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Creating a Digital Roadmap for a Circular Economy

Creating a Digital Roadmap for a Circular Economy

EPC publication

The EU faces multiple challenges (climate crisis, environmental disasters, a lack of competitiveness, falling behind in the digital race, etc.) that it will need to address if it is to ensure long-term sustainable prosperity for European citizens. At the same time, there are two ongoing transitions – the creation of a circular economy and the digital transformation – that could provide the means to address these challenges, if they are managed well.

As the EU and national policymakers are making significant efforts to promote a circular economy on the one hand and a digital economy on the other, Annika Hedberg and Stefan Šipka, together with Johan Bjerkem, argue that it is time to align the agendas as a means to achieve greater sustainability and competitiveness.

This publication:

  • demonstrates what digitalisation means in the context of a circular economy;
  • considers what a greater focus on sustainability would mean for the digital transition;
  • examines the role of the EU policy framework, tools and initiatives in steering a (digital) transition towards a (digital) circular economy and makes recommendations for EU institutions for the next five year.

It suggests that the EU must:

  • think systemically, define a vision and act;
  • provide an adequate governance framework and economic incentives for a (digital) transition to a (digital) circular economy;
  • encourage collaboration across European society and economy as well as globally, and empower its citizens to contribute to the transition.

This Discussion Paper builds on the findings of the EPC’s "Digital Roadmap for a Circular Economy" project of 2017-19 and paves the way for a more extensive final study, scheduled to be published in the late autumn of 2019.

The project has been supported by Aalto University and the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) (members of Helsinki EU Office), Central Denmark region, Climate-KIC, the Estonian Ministry of the Environment, Estonian Environment Investment Centre, HP, Orgalim, the province of Limburg, UL, Fondazione Cariplo and Cariplo Factory.

Raytent: high-quality yarns and fabrics made from solar tents industry cut-offs

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Country: 
Italy

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Giovanardi recycles technical acrylic textiles from solar protection industry, to create the Raytent line of high-quality yarns and fabrics.

02 Jul 2019 to 03 Jul 2019
Paris 2019 International Stewardship Forum Extended Producer Responsability Packaging products

The 2019 edition of the International Stewardship forum is co-organized in Paris by DASTRI and the GlobalPSC with the following objectives:

  • sharing the experience of different countries regarding the implementation and development of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) and Product Stewardship (PS) schemes
  • thinking about how to create value beyond the end-of-life management of products
  • initiating a prospective reflection on the future of these EPR schemes.

Circular Economy in Cities - Factsheets - Urban Products System Summary

Circular economy in cities - Products factsheets

Circular Economy In Cities_Factsheets_Products

These factsheets outline circular economy opportunities to design out urban waste and pollution, ensure products and materials maintain their value, and regenerate the natural systems in our cities.

Easy-to-reference, the factsheets are a collation of research and case examples that answer some of the most prevalent questions around what circular economy can bring to cities:

  • Why is change in cities needed?
  • What circular economy opportunities address key urban system issues?
  • What can urban policymakers do to harness circular economy opportunities?
  • What are the potential economic, social, and environmental benefits of these opportunities?

The whole collection of factsheets, by system and phase, is available on the Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation website.
 

Consumer Insight Action Panel

Start/End date: 
07/03/2019 to 07/03/2021
Country: 
EU
City: 
Brussels

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The Consumer Insight Action Panel is a two-year initiative jointly set up by the CSCP and Sitra as part of their contribution to the ECESP.
Its objective is to translate consumer needs and behavioural knowledge into impact-oriented activities, initiatives and recommendations to support policy makers, business and civil society in enabling consumer-relevant circular economy strategies.

 

Circular Fashion Advocacy - A Strategy towards a Circular Fashion Industry in Europe

Circular Economy Advocacy - A Strategy towards a Circular Fashion Industry in Europe

Circular Fashion Advocacy

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Author: 
Arthur ten Wolde, Polina Korneeva
Publication Date: 
03/2019
Country: 
Belgium

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Contact: 
Arthur ten Wolde

 

Waste and pollution from the production of textiles and clothing have become critical global issues. With only one percent of fibres being recycled, the current ‘linear’ model is outdated and unsustainable. There is an urgent need for a strategy to transform industry into a circular model.

A new report launched by Ecopreneur.eu, the European Sustainable Business Federation, calls for decisive policy measures to create an enabling framework. With a foreword from Janez Potočnik.

According to the report, a set of policy instruments to accelerate and mainstream a European circular fashion economy should be based on the following five pillars:

  • Innovation policies – research programmes with subsidies, investment tax deduction, and support for technological development, innovation and small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Economic incentives – procurement, extended producer responsibility, VAT, and a tax shift to drive market demand for circular products and services.
  • Regulation – establishing and enforcing a common regulatory framework for transparency and traceability, circular design and improved end-of-waste status across the EU.
  • Trade policies – facilitating export of semi-finished products and sorted, reusable textile waste to producing countries, and avoiding negative social impacts in producing countries.
  • Voluntary actions – covenants, commitments and standards are encouraged to engage stakeholders, with legislation standing by in case of lacking results.

Circular Economy in the Textile Sector

CE Textile

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Author: 
Morton Hemkhaus; Dr. Jürgen Hannak; Peter Malodobry; Tim Janßen;
Publication Date: 
01/2019
Country: 
Germany

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Contact: 
Franzisca Markschläger

The concept of circular economy is becoming increasingly important in the textile industry. This study examines options for establishing closed fibre cycles in the clothing and fashion industry. It provides a detailed background analysis on fibre cycles in Europe and Germany, describes the biggest drivers and obstacles and evaluates selected technologies for textile fibre recycling.

The analysis is based on an in-depth literature review, paired with findings from a focus group session conducted as part of the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) International Congress 2018. In addition, more than 20 experts working in the textile sector shared their candid views for the analysis.

The study was commissioned by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

29 Mar 2019
circular fashion advocacy

Waste and pollution from the production of textiles and clothing have become critical global issues. With only one percent of fibres being recycled, the current ‘linear’ model is outdated and unsustainable. There is an urgent need for a strategy to transform industry into a circular model. A new report launched by Ecopreneur.eu, the European Sustainable Business Federation, calls for decisive policy measures to create an enabling framework.

Rifò - regenerating noble textile fibers into timeless pieces of clothing

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Country: 
Italy

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Rifò regenerates noble textile fibers, such as cashmere, using a proven technology developed in the textile district of Prato (Tuscany) over a hundred years ago.

3SIXTY Turn Recycled Plastic Bottles and Upcycled Ocean Waste Into Towels For The Hotel Industry

3sixty towels made using recycled plastic bottles

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Country: 
Ireland

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3SIXTY upcycled end of life, single use plastic bottles and ocean waste into towels for the hotel industry.

MaterialDistrict: a unique match-making platform for innovative materials

Material District

MaterialDistrict is a unique platform for innovative materials which empowers global innovation by match-making material needs with material solutions in the name of circularity. R&D and design professionals of all industrial sectors use this platform to discover new material solutions daily via MaterialDistrict's independent collection of materials, annually at MaterialDistrict Rotterdam and periodically throughout the year with travelling MaterialDistrict Expo, MaterialDistrict Talks and MaterialDistrict Pop-Up events.

12 Mar 2019 to 14 Mar 2019
Materialdistrict 2019
City: 
Rotterdam
Country: 
Netherlands

MaterialDistrict Rotterdam 2019 is the leading event for R&D and design professionals within six sectors, including textiles and fabrics. Circularity is among the priority themes to be treated.

SK-Tex, a Slovakian recycling company, transforms old clothes into insulation products

SK-Tex product EkosenHMC

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Country: 
Slovak Republic

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SK-Tex takes old clothing and turns it into products that can be used in cars, furniture and buildings. The company has been in operation since 1998, beginning as a textile raw materials trading company before developing into a recycling company.

DyeCoo uses reclaimed CO₂ as the dyeing medium, in a closed loop process

DyeCoo

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Country: 
Netherlands

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DyeCoo, based in Weesp, the Netherlands, has more than 15 years of experience in CO₂-based textile processing technology. By replacing water with CO₂ for the dyeing process, no wastewater is generated. Furthermore, DyCoo uses reclaimed CO₂ from existing idustrial processes, making it a closed loop operation.

Polish Circular Hotspot

polish circular hotspot logo

The Polish Circular Hotspot is a public-private platform bringing together national and local government bodies with businesses, entrepreneurs, the scientific community and civil society to jointly develop and apply the concept of a circular economy in Poland.

The hotspot has begun the following activities to develop and implement circular innovations:

  • organising events (sectoral, regional, national) to analyse specific problems and legislative issues such as workshops on circular procurement for public agencies

  • assisting with drafting strategies and roadmaps while supporting the establishment of sectoral partnerships for practical circular solutions

  • networking businesses to exchange knowledge, showcase innovations and connecting Polish entrepreneurs with partners abroad, e.g. through study visits and B2B monitoring sessions with the support of the Dutch, Swedish, German, French and Danish Embassies.

  • educating those interested in the circular economy concept, for example by organising the national educational campaign ‘Polish Circular Week’

Becoming a member of the Polish Circular Hotspot enables you to work with Polish and foreign partners in building innovative solutions and exchanging best practice across sectors. The hotspot also provides its members with opportunities to shape the debate on emerging circular economy legislation and collaborate in funding projects through partnerships.

Orange Fiber squeezes orange peel into versatile, biodegradable textile

orange fiber image

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Country: 
Italy

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Orange Fiber has closed the loop for oranges by patenting a technique to squeeze orange peel and citrus waste into cellulose fibre. With growing demand for sustainable fashion, the company is well placed to commence production in 2019, having already prototyped a collection with Salvatore Ferragamo and won the Global Change Awars

20 Sep 2018
circular brands logo

CIRCULAR BRANDS is a pioneering program designed to empower the top brands in NL to make circular brand and business innovation reality. Register for the next workshop in Amsterdam on September 20th - there's place for 6 more brand teams to join and accelerate their transformation in becoming circular brand leaders, creating business growth and positive impact by driving the circular economy culture.

Van Hulley upcycles worn shirts into boxershorts

van Hulley logo

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Country: 
Netherlands

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Van Hulley is a Dutch SME that upcycles worn-out shirts into boxershorts, employing disadvantaged women as seamstresses every year and training them to join the labour market more permanently.

Infinited Fiber turns cotton rich textile waste into new fibers, infinitely

Infinited Fiber yarn

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Country: 
Finland

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Infinited Fiber has developed a process technology that can turn cotton rich textile waste into new fibers for the textile industry. Not just once, but infinitely. Infinited Fiber can be recycled again and again without decreasing the quality of the fiber.

Models of circular business ecosystem for textiles

Model of circular business ecosystem for textiles

Diagram of circular business ecosystem for textiles

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Author: 
Paula Fontell, Pirjo Heikkila
Publication Date: 
11/2017
Country: 
Finland

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Contact: 
Paula Fontell

The Relooping Fashion Initiative (2015-2017) was aimed at piloting and modelling the circular business ecosystem for textiles. This report covers the business ecosystem modelling work and introduces the project team’s crystallized vision of a higher-level system that enables the textiles industry to operate according to the basic principles of a circular economy. 

The focus of the report is on explaining the principles of a circular economy in the context of textiles, and drawing a picture of the key material flows and types of actors along the value cycles from end-user back to end-user. The overall goal is to maintain the value of materials as high as possible, with minimum environmental impact. The different circular business models for textiles are introduced along the value cycles. The report covers 1) repair and maintenance, 2) re-use as product, 3) re-use as material, and 4) recycling-related activities, and business models for post-consumer/user textiles along the entire value chain.

All these processes need to work seamlessly together for the circular business ecosystem to function effectively. New recycling technologies are crucial to solving the global textile waste problem, and to be able to replace some of the virgin materials such as cotton with recycled textile materials. The report also discusses the topic of shared value creation in the circular economy context.

ShareWear showed 340,000 consumers fashion can be borrowed, not only bought

items from the first ShareWear collection

ShareWear, a part of the Swedish Democreativity initiative, was launched to inspire a sustainable way to be fashionable. A ready-to-share collection with Swedish fashion items allowed consumers to borrow unique clothing - but only if they shared it forward.

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