BIOREX AND MELTEX: research and development of textile waste

by Beatriz Domenech

R+D Projects

23th October 2020

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In order to contribute to the circular economy, sustainability and eco technologies, AITEX focuses some of its research on the following lines:

  • Development of sustainable functional yarns from biopolymers and textile waste of fossil origin.
  • Research into the revaluation of textile waste of thermoplastic origin
BIOREX – Spinning yarns from chemically recycled PET and functionalised polymers by means of reactive extrusion.

In order to tackle the problem of environmental pollution, and remaining true to the principles of the circular economy, the BIOREX project proposes two strategies:

  • The use of natural polymers as substitutes for traditional synthetic polymers
  • The chemical recycling of products at the end of their useful life to produce virgin polymers from waste

 

The successful development of the project will result in functional sustainable yarns using a multifilament spinning process to manufacture fibres from polymeric matrices of a variety of natures and compositions:

  • Biodegradable polymeric matrices chemically modified by the covalent incorporation of functional molecules and/or nanoparticles to enhance their mechanical, thermal and functional properties through a reactive extrusion process. The main bio-based polymers used will be PLA, PHB, PBS and blends of the same.
  • Chemically modified polyolefins through reactive extrusion for the covalent incorporation of metal alkoxides to enhance their compatibility with natural fibres.
  • Chemically recycled PET using a process of depolymerisation by glycolysis and subsequent repolymerisation, to optimise and verify the circular life cycle of the polyester
MELTEX – The circular economy applied to thermoplastic textile waste

Textile waste amounts to 900,000 tonnes per year, with 90% of this not properly recycled but used for energy recovery. One of the simplest recycling routes that would achieve drastic reductions in plastic waste and the consumption of fossil resources is mechanical recycling, a strategy that focuses on the reintroduction of these materials back onto the market. The main objective of the MELTEX project is to acquire the necessary skills for the revaluation of thermoplastic textile waste, so that the resulting, highly sustainable materials can be reused by the textile industry.

It is the goal of the project to reuse the recycled materials obtained from synthetic textile waste, either in fusion spinning for the manufacture of new fabrics, or in industrial processes whose products can be applied to the textile sector; extrusion, compression moulding or injection moulding for the manufacture of shop furniture, dummies, hangers, etc.

Based on the results of the research carried out, the following results are expected:

  • A knowledge base on the feasibility of recycling thermoplastic textile waste using mechanical recycling (shredding + one-stage extrusion), taking into account criteria such as composition, format, purity, etc.
  • An evaluation of the properties of the materials obtained and their possible applications within the textile and related sectors.
  • An analysis of the needs of the textile sector with regard to the revaluation of waste originating from its production processes.

 

 

FILE: IMAMCI/2020/1

This project is funded by the Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible, Sectors Productius, Comerç i Treball of the Generalitat Valenciana, through IVACE.

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