EU’s new circular fashion project targets textile recycling

The European Union’s (EU) System Circularity and Innovative Recycling of Textiles (SCIRT) project has been launched to begin addressing the issue of clothing waste and recyclability, one of the fashion industry’s major difficulties.

Through technological innovation in textile-to-textile recycling, the project, which includes 18 partners from five countries, intends to accelerate the transition to a circular fashion system. It will be coordinated by VITO, an independent Flemish research organization in the clean technology and sustainable development sector.

The project will deliver a closed-loop recycling solution for discarded post-consumer textiles, create new business opportunities by boosting activity within textile value chains, stimulate conscious design and production practices, and raise public awareness of the environment and social impacts of textile consumption.

Discarded textiles are building up in abundance throughout the world as clothing manufacturers set lofty goals and promise to incorporate recycled fibers into their goods.

According to a 2017Ellen MacArthur Foundation report, fewer than 1% of textile waste gets recycled into new textile fibers, despite the fact that the stars of supply and demand appear to have aligned for this portion of the circular economy.

According to the press release, this little proportion is symptomatic of a larger issue: attaining circularity in the fashion business is not simply a question of supply and demand, but also of the relationship between the two.

There is a lack of information about the technological, economic, and environmental feasibility of recycling fiber combinations, as well as a need to match the quality and cost of recycling procedures to the needs of textile firms and fashion brands.

SCIRT will provide solutions to encourage systemic innovation and close the supply-demand gap in the fashion industry.

SCIRT will demonstrate a complete textile-to-textile recycling system for discarded clothing, also known as post-consumer textiles, involving stakeholders throughout the value chain and focusing on the recycling of natural and synthetic fibers, as well as fiber blends, to address the demand side of the equation.

The project will design, prototype, and create 6 distinct representative types of garments utilizing post-consumer recycled fibers with the help of technical partners and research institutes, including clothing brands Bel & Bo, Decathlon, HNST, Petit Bateau, and Xandres. These include formal and casual wear, uniforms, sportswear, and underwear.

SCIRT will prioritize quality and cost-effectiveness in this endeavor in order to maintain market trust and encourage the widespread use of post-consumer recycled fibers.

From a non-technical standpoint, SCIRT will develop policy measures and instruments to aid in the transition to a circular economy for apparel. A framework for an eco-modulated extended producer responsibility (EPR) system, as well as a real cost model to quantify circularity and improve value chain transparency, are included.

The customer perspective will be given special consideration. In order to understand the perceptions, motives, and emotions driving human behavior surrounding the purchase, use, and disposal of textiles, Citizen Labs involving consumers in several European locations, as well as a larger online interaction platform, will be established.

According to the press release, the SCIRT project partners will work over the next three years to overcome present technological, economic, socio-economic, and legal hurdles to textile recycling in order to establish a true, long-term circular fashion industry.

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