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SUSTAINABLE AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY BUSINESS MODEL FOR TOWELS WITH MULTIPLE LIFES USING A TAKE-BACK SYSTEM

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ARPE-CIRCULAR-TOWEL (SUSTAINABLE AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY BUSINESS MODEL FOR TOWELS WITH MULTIPLE LIFES USING A TAKE-BACK SYSTEM)

Período documentado: 2019-02-01 hasta 2019-07-31

ARPE is using an innovative patronage system to minimize production loses and then incorporates, within its business model, a take-back approach for collecting out-of-use towels in the collectivities (first customer) to re-process them and make a new product, cleaning cloths for industrial use (second customer), at a minimal cost and providing employment opportunities in Europe. At the end-of-life of the second use, the raw material (PES) can be recycled and incorporated into the towel production of the first product (towels) closing the material loop.
ARPE’s innovation is a game-changer business model integrating the life management of towels in fitness centers and other collectivities using a circular economy approach for delivering multiple life to the product and multiple economic valorization:
- Production and sale of polyester microfiber towels for collectivities (SALE)
- Recover those towels at the end of their life for recycling (TAKE-BACK)
- Refurbish the towel into a new product for other sectors (SALE)
- Potential for recycling the second product to fiber level and go back to fresh towel production (CIRCULAR RECYCLE)
ARPE made a first demonstration with key stakeholders with 100 kg of end-of-life towels to turn them into 2500+ cleaning cloths.

Specific objectives for the feasibility study were:
1. Determine the technical viability of different after-life applications (by color, by requirements, etc.) and the logistics involved in the take-back approach for recovering the first product, particularly at multi-country level.
2. Identify and analyze the market at EU and global scale: segmentation, distribution channels and regulations to define the capabilities profile and competitive advantages, for both first and second life applications.
3. Review and optimize the business model for monetizing ARPE-CIRCULAR-TOWEL including a servitization approach for full-service and identify missing key stakeholders for deployment.
4. Review ARPE-CIRCULAR-TOWEL IP position, secure the trademark in target countries and validate the freedom to operate.
5. Define a business plan and the business strategy for commercialization of the ARPE-CIRCULAR-TOWEL system: production capabilities (current and needed), marketing strategy (distribution, pricing and promotion), financial plan (costs to be incurred, margin and investments needed) and definition of the roadmap for the implementation of the next stages.
ARPE assessed the different strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats with SWOT analysis of the current ARPE position with ARPE-CIRCULAR-TOWEL. In total ARPE meet with potential customer representatives several times during the SME Instrument Phase 1 period in order to assess and gather feedback from the initial prototypes of the ARPE-CIRCULAR-TOWEL.
ARPE released a set of samples of recycled cloths made with recovered towels during the 2019 Catalonia MotoGP Grand Prix in the sustainability corner KiSS Barcelona with good results. Technical issues remaining after the stage 1 and that needs further development in the next stage of the implementation are the second-life product diversification in order to better fit the B2C market in comparison to the initially assessed B2B end-use. The approach envisioned is to create a series of products for retail and for consumer use based on design that embraces the sustainability aspect of the second-life of the towel as main driver to consumers. As such, potential applications of the second-life products could be in promotional products where ARPE is already well positioned in the market with unique compositions and designs.
As part of the regular commercial activity, the CEO highlighted the main characteristics of ARPE-CIRCULAR-TOWEL under development to a selected group of customers on different markets with positive interest from the different stakeholders. The project was presented also in several sustainability awards such as the PSI, in the iTechStyle Summit 2019 and in the sustainability day in the UPC in Terrassa.
ARPE started to estimate the volumes for each of those potential customers for ARPE-CIRCULAR-TOWEL based on the current demands for different products and their volume. We identified a market potential of over 249M€ between first-life products and second-life. In order to implement the business plan, ARPE will continue on EIC Accelerator (SME Instrument) for further investment to scale up. ARPE expects to create several FTE jobs during scaling up of the ARPE-CIRCULAR-TOWEL Project commercially.

The ARPE-CIRCULAR-TOWEL model will actively contribute to a more sustainable industrial production with reduced CO2 emissions, reduced water consumption and cost savings for all involved stakeholders and customers.