We are ready for the next step in sustainability challenges

Technology and Controls

The evolution of the sustainability theme includes complex dynamics.
Among the topics, waste management represents one of the hot topics with different facets; an example of this is the changing regulatory framework. The transposition of Directive 2018/849/EU, which establishes the obligation to recover end-of-life textile materials in just under a year, can be seen as both a challenge and an opportunity to be seized.

In the last period there has been an interest in sustainability issues in the textile sector, which have gone from being considered marginal to being central in the current debate, also from a commercial point of view.

Often we have witnessed the phenomenon of green washing; a double-edged sword that risks proving to be a threat also for the organization that adopted it.

 

Today, unlike even just a few years ago, awareness of the issue has matured considerably: there are countless initiatives and solutions in place and, among these, the design of a product must also take into account its end-of-life.

 

It is necessary to specify that the design of a product does not only mean the technical specifications such as the selection of materials, the production of goods and the related logistics, but it means a holistic vision that sees with a wide spectrum all the facets with which the product-system must be confronted.

There are several aspects that can affect the development of a product, not least the regulatory framework of reference.

 

For example, from 1 January 2022 it will be compulsory to set up separate collection of urban textile waste in Italy. This obligation stems from the transposition of European Directive 2018/849/EU, which provided for the obligation by January 1, 2025, although the Italian legislator has anticipated the timing. In fact, it does not catch the sector off guard; in Italy a system of recovery and reconditioning of end-of-life textiles is already established, but the recycling potential of non-reusable textiles is not yet fully expressed or exploited.

 

In the C-TEX Circular Textiles project – co-funded by the Lombardy Region and ERDF under the call FASHIONTECH – Research & Development Projects for Sustainable Fashion, Regional Operational Program 2014-2020 – one of the objectives is focused precisely on the study for the valorization of textiles at the end of life.

The issue is quite articulated and concerns several aspects: on the one hand it is necessary to ensure that recycled materials are not contaminated by hazardous substances, on the other hand it is necessary to deal with the probability that the performance of recycled materials may be lower than that of virgin material.

Finally, it is possible to evaluate the use of the material in sectors other than that of origin.

 

As part of the project, the participating companies hope to get in touch with possible suppliers of waste materials in order to design and manufacture new products.

 

For more details please contact:

  • Paolo Ghezzo

Multisectoral Research & Innovation Area
e-mail: paolo.ghezzo@centrocot.it

  • Daniela Nebuloni

Multisectoral Research & Innovation Area

e-mail: daniela.nebuloni@centrocot.it

Author: Paolo Ghezzo

Multisectoral Research & Innovation Dept.