Finding recycling solutions to textile waste is a pressing European and global challenge, as it is estimated that less than 1% of textiles are currently recycled. As, at the same time, the European Commission has identified textiles as a priority product for the circular economy, it is necessary to expand technologies and infrastructures that support such business model.
The tExtended project at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo/Finland, started on December 1, 2022, and will achieve this objective by developing and demonstrating effective textile recovery, waste valorization and recycling processes. These processes will be combined with digital tools and data-driven solutions to support sustainable circularity of textiles and maximize its impact.
»We are effectively looking to create a master plan for a sustainable textile ecosystem.«
Dr. Pirjo Heikkilä, tExtended Project Coordinator, VTT
Despite the several studies in recent years about textile flows, there is still a lack of infrastructure and of a systemic method of collecting information. This 4-year project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe research and innovation program under Grant Agreement No.101091575 will progress beyond these issues by creating a knowledge-based and digitally enabled ecosystem.
tExtended solutions will create new job opportunities and reduce waste and CO2
emissions. Local community actors will be involved in the development of the project’s solutions; their participation assures the feasibility of the model and the continued flow of second-hand textile material.
The knowledge produced on circular economy applied to the textile industry will generate new business and strengthen competitiveness and resilience through sustainability and digitalization, thus accelerating the green and digital transformation in the European textile industry.