MELTEX – CIRCULAR ECONOMY APPLIED TO THERMOPLASTIC TEXTILE WASTE
The MELTEX project focuses on the revaluation of thermoplastic textile waste.
The motivation for the project stems from the sheer amount of waste produced annually in Spain. It is estimated that it amounts to around 900,000 tons per year, and that 90% is not properly recycled but used for energy recovery.
The most widespread processes currently used in the textile industry to recycle textile materials, whether they are of natural, artificial or synthetic origin, are mainly based on the shredding of garments, scraps or rags to reduce them to fibre that is subsequently used in the production of new yarns.
However, as far as thermoplastic textile waste is concerned, other alternatives could be considered that focus on the intrinsic properties of these materials, such as their ability to be moulded into new forms. The aim is to study the feasibility of transforming thermoplastic textile waste into pellets that can be used in spinning processes by melting, injection or extrusion, to increase their value. The properties conferred on the materials by the revaluation process will ultimately define in each case the suitability of a particular material for each application in its new lifecycle.
The main objective of the MELTEX initiative is to acquire the necessary skills for the revaluation of thermoplastic textile waste, so that the new sustainable materials can be reused in the textile industry.
The intention is that the recycled materials can be used either in fusion spinning processes for the manufacture of new fabrics, or in industrial processes whose products can be used in the textile sector, such as extrusion, compression moulding or injection moulding for the manufacture of shop furniture, dummies, hangers, etc.
The project defines the following lines of research:
- Study of the process involved in revaluing thermoplastic textile waste in re-granulation (shredding + extrusion).
To this end, the project’s working group will carry out the following activities:
- a) Study of the processability of different types of textile waste in industrial shredding + extrusion equipment in the same processing stage. The configuration of the equipment, performance and features when processing selected textile wastes with different compositions, presentation formats, waste size, etc. will be analysed in depth.
- b) Processability of different types of waste on a laboratory scale. Initially, the different types of thermoplastic waste to be revalued will be ground or shredded.
- c) Both the thermoplastic pellets generated in the industrial tests and those obtained in the tests developed at laboratory scale will be characterised to determine thermal properties, level of impurities, rheological behaviour, etc. This characterisation will enable the definition of the optimum revaluation routes for the waste, either in the melting process (mono and multifilament), or in processes used in the plastics industry such as injection moulding and profile extrusion.
- Diagnosis of textile companies in terms of sustainability and circular economy applied to waste and by-products.
Transversal activity related to the diagnosis of sustainability and circular economy applied to textile companies, preferably from the Valencian Community. The aim is to uncover manufacturers’ needs and concerns relating to the above-mentioned aspects by conducting site visits.
- R&D in the field of sustainable solutions for packaging applied to textiles, including solutions related to applied circular economy.
In the textile sector, significant quantities of plastic are consumed in packaging. Companies are demanding more sustainable solutions, either based on the use of biopolymers or recycled raw materials. Given the thermoplastic nature of this type of waste, this ad-hoc study for our sector will also be considered in the MELTEX Project.
Based on the results of the research carried out in the first year of the MELTEX project and the execution of the work planned for 2020, the following results are expected:
- The creation of a knowledge base on the feasibility of recycling thermoplastic textile waste by means of shredding + extrusion in one stage according to criteria such as composition, format, purity, etc.
- Evaluation of the properties of the materials obtained and their possible applications within the textile industry and related sectors.
- Analysis of the needs of the textile sector with regard to the revaluation of the waste generated in production processes.
This project is funded by the Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible, Sectors Productius, Comerç i Treball de la Generalitat Valenciana, through IVACE.
GRANT NUMBER: IMAMCI/2020/1
MORE INFORMATION IN THE NON-ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES PLAN
- Year: 2020
- Status: Finished
- Entity: IVACE
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