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Trash-2-Cash: Designed high-value products from zero-value waste textiles and fibres via design driven technologies

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - Trash-2-Cash (Trash-2-Cash: Designed high-value products from zero-value waste textiles and fibres via design driven technologies)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2017-12-01 do 2018-11-30

The Trash-2-Cash project aims at giving a second life to used or discarded material from textile waste streams and recycled fibre reject from paper and packaging fractions. T2C strongly contributes to a radical change in the general view on these streams, from waste to a valuable material source. It also breaks down the barriers between designers and material scientists, making them join forces to work together on potential future products to promote material innovation and strenghten Europes creative industry. The vision within the project is that products should live in several life cycles, meaning that the designed products generated from this work within the project will be developed through a closed-loop perspective.

There is an urgent need for technical advancements in recycling of textiles. The textile industry, according to the Energy Administration Authorities of Europe and USA, is the 5th largest contributor to CO2 emissions in these countries, after primary metals, non-metallic mineral products, petroleum and chemicals. In 2008, the annual global textile production was estimated at 60 billion kilograms of fabric. The estimated energy and water needed to produce that amount of fabric is overwhelming: 1,074 billion of kWh of electricity or 132 million metric tons of coal, and between 6 and 9 trillion of litres of water. The European Community has limited the organic landfill with legislation to reduce the large waste generation, but it takes more than legislative measures to exploit this valuable resource.

The overall objective of T2C is to develop new materials and products via creative design from waste materials and industrial side or by-products from the textile and paper industries and to promote development within the creative sector by providing technology solutions for exploitation of waste streams and design for recycling.
By the end of the second reporting period 30 of the projects total duration of 42 months has passed. During this time significant progress to have been made towards the projects end goal of delivering new sustainable textile materials applied in complete high value product concepts.
The novel interdisciplinary design approach applied in the project requires an effective exchange of perspective amongst the consortium partners in order to utilize the collective knowledge in the product development. This has been assured throughout a continuous monitoring and management of the exchange in methods that’s been established in the first stages of the project and further refined. A total of 9 project workshops, whereof three within the second reporting period, has been designed and facilitated to face the current needs of the project.

The design process of the project is formulated in three iterative cycles advancing the product concepts moving from Design via Application to Refinement. The product concepts have been advanced from “Material attributes and Scenarios” to “Concepts and Material Structures”. By the end of the second reporting period the project has reached the third and final iterative cycle of Refinement that will develop complete master cases for the new products adopted for automotive industry, fashion textiles and technical textile.

The project has so far developed two sets of prototypes for the new recycled materials, corresponding with the conclusion of each iterative cycle. The first set of prototypes consists of fibers, the second of textile fabrics and the third will be the prototypes of the product concepts. The prototypes demonstrate the advancements in the processes for the new materials with cotton textiles and cotton/polyester blends as raw materials. These processes have been developed and adapted for the production of fibres needed to realize the product concepts.

In order to increase the impact of the project the consortium has made substantial efforts for dissemination and exploitation activities with a total estimated reach of 27 000 persons. The consortium partners have for example attended more than 40 events and conferences, produced a podcast in six episodes and published 13 scientific publications.
The processes developed in the project show potential to be economically and sustainably feasible. The eco-fibres from recycled cotton fibres developed using environmentally friendly ionic solvents and bio-catalytic approaches have the potential of becoming a viable alternative to virgin cotton. The continuous inputs from designers, connected to both academia and business, assures a fibre adapted to a market demand. Their work has resulted in several promising design concept that will be used in the development of future prototypes in the project or exploited by the consortium partners and third parties. Simultaneously the design driven material innovation methodology used in the process are being tested, evaluated and developed and constitutes a result with the potential of encourage a close cooperation and interaction between designer and manufacturers. New markets will open with manufacturing of designed objects with prominent consumer-related and sustainability properties. This design driven initiative will increase the value of the creative sector within Europe, also encourage new business/network opportunities between different countries in Europe.