Finding recycling solutions for textile waste is a pressing European and global challenge, as it is estimated that less than 1% of textiles are currently recycled. At the same time, as the European Commission has identified textiles as a priority product for the circular economy, there is a need to develop technologies and infrastructure to support such a business model.
The tExtended project, launched last December, will achieve this goal by developing and demonstrating effective textile recovery, waste valorisation and recycling processes. These processes will be combined with digital tools and data-driven solutions to support and maximise the impact of sustainable textile circularity.
Aimplas is participating in this project and will focus on digital tools and technologies for textile recovery. Aimplas will be responsible for the identification and classification of textiles using optical separation systems, the pre-processing and recovery of materials for recycling, the recycling of textile waste through the solvolysis process, including industrial textile products.
Despite several recent studies on textile flows, there is still a lack of infrastructure and a systematic way of collecting information. This 4-year project, funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme, will address these issues by creating a knowledge-based and digitally-enabled ecosystem.
The extended solutions will also have an impact on local communities, creating new job opportunities and reducing waste and CO2 emissions. Local community stakeholders will be involved in the development of the project’s solutions; their participation will ensure the viability of the model and the continued flow of used textile materials.
The knowledge generated by tExtended on circular economy applied to the textile industry will generate new businesses and strengthen competitiveness and resilience through sustainability and digitalisation, thus accelerating the green and digital transformation of the European textile industry.