AITEX CREATES A SUSTAINABILITY AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY TECHNICAL UNIT

by Beatriz Domenech
AITEX CREATES A SUSTAINABILITY AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY TECHNICAL UNIT

The environmental impact of the textile sector has become one of today’s most worrying issues, as it is the second most polluting industry on the planet. The high consumption of water and chemical products, its carbon footprint, dumping and the emission of microplastics are some of the critical aspects of the production process. Coupled with the enormous quantities of waste and the low recycling rate (only 1% is transformed into new garments) means that the development of sustainable strategies and business models are urgently needed.

In response to the needs and challenges that this change represents for the textile sector, AITEX has created a Technical Unit for Sustainability and Circular Economy that will work transversally along three lines of action: R+D, Laboratories and Training.

In R&D, AITEX has 37 experimental plants to work on the challenges posed by the circular economy at all stages of the textile life cycle, through the development of its own research projects or in collaboration with partners. The line covers everything from eco-design and environmentally friendly production processes, to the prevention of waste and recycling in the final phase of the textile production cycle. The development of new bio-fibres and bio-polymers, chemical and mechanical recycling processes, the revaluation of pre- and post-consumption waste, the use of auxiliary products of natural origin and research into eco-finishing processes are some of the fields in which R&D projects are currently being carried out.
AITEX’s laboratory facilities provide companies with infrastructure and laboratory equipment for the characterisation of products, quality control and certification, in compliance with international sustainability regulations and standards. Voluntary eco-labels or certifications in sustainability and traceability are an important transparency tool that provides consumers with information on the environmental impact of products when making purchasing decisions. AITEX is an accredited entity for the Global Recycle Standard (GRS) and Recycled Claim Standard (RSC) certifications that verify the content of recycled material in products as well as compliance with good environmental practices in processes.
Likewise, the Institute creates social and environmental value by promoting environmental education, innovation, efficiency and the generation of employment and a stronger industrial base. AITEX’s Training Division provides technical training in new sustainable techniques and low environmental impact textile processes through courses in collaboration with other leading institutions such as the UPV.
With the introduction of the Technical Unit, AITEX makes its capabilities and resources available to textile manufacturers to improve their position as environmentally sustainable companies and to generate business opportunities through the change to new circular models.
After an initial analysis of the sector’s needs, one of the actions that will be carried out in the short term is the creation of an Environmental Sustainability Guide for the Textile Sector; in which concepts, applicable regulations, available certifications, success cases and good practices will be clarified.

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