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RESYNTEX Report Summary

Project ID: 641942
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.5.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RESYNTEX (A new circular economy concept: from textile waste towards chemical and textile industries feedstock)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

RESYNTEX aims to create a new circular economy concept for the textile and chemical industries. Through industrial symbiosis, the project aims to produce secondary raw materials from textile waste.
The RESYNTEX project will:
• Create a strategic design for a complete value chain from textile waste collection through to the generation of new feedstock for chemicals and textiles
• Improve post-consumer collection approaches and increase public awareness of and social involvement with the issue of textile waste
• Enable traceability of waste processing using data aggregation. The collected data will evaluate the performance of the new value chains by means of a life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC), compared to existing end-of-life scenarios
• Develop innovative business models for the chemical and textile industries
• Demonstrate a complete reprocessing line for basic textile components, including liquid and solid waste treatment

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In the last 18 months, the project consortium has worked towards the achievement of the following project objectives in accordance with the planned activities and results set in the Grant Agreement in the following manner:

1) A strategic design of the whole value chain from textile waste collection, until the new marketable feedstock for chemical & textile industries
Towards this objective, it was necessary to explore and study the main elements that shape the symbiotic relationship between textile waste collection, the processing and recycling of textile waste and the marketable feedstock for the chemical & textile industries generated. A scenario validation workshop as well as a symbiosis scenarios report focused towards identifying and assessing scenarios for commercially successful and societally impactful textile-chemistry symbiosis within and beyond the RESYNTEX project. This approach started and will continue.

2) The improvement of collection approaches particularly for non-wearable textiles for recycling by changing citizen’s behavior and creation of tools for higher social involvement and recycling promotion
The RESYNTEX team worked on the relationship and interactions between the RESYNTEX project and the community of stakeholders that are or can be affected by the project’s research and outcomes. Three stakeholder discussions were organized so far. These discussions bring to the project a wide range of viewpoints, experiences, interests and sensitivities which help to better understand the production value chain and stakeholder structures within the RESYNTEX objective and to identify the different textile waste streams suitable for the RESYNTEX processes, the obstacles towards their collection as well as possible solutions. In addition to that, a mobile application has been developed to create a continuous link between RESYNTEX and a panel of European consumers. This mobile application is based on users’ wardrobe inventory and the social exchanges between consumers on the topic of textile recycling.

3) A data aggregation system will be developed in order to ensure waste traceability and to provide relevant data for economic and environmental assessment
A RESYNTEX Data Aggregator (RDA) was designed in order to collect and store any data generated within RESYNTEX and to make it available and usable to the RESYNTEX Consortium members and external stakeholders. The implementation and testing period is starting now.

4) The development of new business models adapted for different synergies identified and for new markets still in early stage
So far, preliminary scenarios of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) were studied as well preliminary business scenarios and models discussed.

5) Automation of the macro separation and sorting for pure or blended textiles, in order to enhance productivity and competitiveness of the whole recycling process
In the reporting period, all major parts of the future separation and sorting line have been successfully developed and tested. In the center of these developments stand the textile recognition through hyperspectral imagining and the pre-treatment of the recognized material through a density-based air separation.

6) A new demonstration process based on a synergistic chemical and biotechnological cascading separation/transformation
The separation of textile basic components (proteins, cellulose, PA and PET) from textile blends as basic feedstock materials for chemical & textile industries is under development. There is still need for process optimization and better control of the effect of impurities before taking the next step of scaling up processes. Liquid and solid waste treatment and valorization is foreseen to close the loop.
o Decoloration of cellulose, PET and PA fibers has successfully been tested using different chemical and enzymatic methods. The decoloration of protein fibers is not required for the end product envisioned.
o Chemical/enzymatic recycling approaches for cellulose, protein, PA and PET fibres have been tested and mostly finalized on the lab scale.
o Focus of the next period: More tests on the reprocessing of blended real waste textiles in general and more tests on the effect of elastane (included in most textile blends) in particular.

7) Creation of successful industrial symbiosis and production of new marketable chemicals using the new feedstock from RESYNTEX as reliable and competitive raw materials
This objective is within reach but process optimization is still needed in order to comply fully with requirements from end-users.
o Protein hydrolysates will be used as adhesive in the production of wood-based panels (CHIMAR)
o Depolymerized cellulose (sugars in solution) will be used to produce ethanol (CTXI)
o PA oligomers will be converted into added value chemicals, such as caprolactam (Arkema)
o PET monomers (terephthalic acid, ethylene glycol) will be used to produce PET plastic bottles (CTXI)

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

RESYNTEX is bringing a potential impact to the new recycling technology (according to the EU waste directive of 2008 (2008/98/EC) dealing with unique textile waste technology based on cascading chemical/enzymatic processes to produce secondary feedstock for the chemical/textile industry. According to this directive, the recycling of materials is preferred over landfilling or energy recovery through incineration. RESYNTEX is working on a reinforcement of the eco-industry landscape in Europe. The involvement of institutional organization is important and will ensure the emergence of new standards and codes for textile waste collection, more incentives for textile waste collection and better acceptance of textile waste as chemical feedstock. RESYNTEX is evaluating citizens/consumers awareness for innovative eco-solutions. New data collection tools, associated with LCA & LCC methods will contribute to the definition of new business models and market replication strategies. RESYNTEX vision is to become a leading approach in the textile circular economy, globally.

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