Submitted by Ariadna Detrell on 19 December 2019

A major priority for AEI Tèxtils during last years has been the promotion of circular economy and sustainability within the textile sector, especially in technical textiles.

Several projects and initiatives are examples of the cluster activity in this field such as the European projects MIDWOR and FLAREX (co-funded by LIFE, an European Commission Program) or PACTEX and ECODISTEX, at Catalan level (co-funded by Waste Agency of Catalonia). Several companies, members of the cluster, have directly participated in these projects and enabled them to apply and uptake measures to increase their sustainability in both products and processes.

Moreover, AEI Tèxtils has presented and spread out the results of these projects in diverse national and international forums, promoting also the good practices emerged from the cluster members. Noteworthy activities includes the participation at Colombiamoda 2018 conferences, where AEI Tèxtils gave a presentation in front of more than 1.000 experts, with the title “Sustainability and circular economy: an opportunity to increase the competitiveness of the textile industry”.

Other remarkable activities includes the participation of the cluster in several workshops organized by the European Commission, in which sustainability of chemical products for the finishing of textile materials and their future was discussed. An example is the workshop on innovation and strategy definition of chemical products’ management, organized by the Directorate General of Environment from the European Commission (DG-ENV) in Brussels (January 2019).

Thanks to the acquired experience during the last years and the trust of the companies members of the cluster, it has been possible to present, in 2019, five projects to the call to Foster Circular Economy from Generalitat de Catalunya.

All five projects have been approved and they will start on January 2020. AEI Tèxtils  coordinates two of them, in collaboration with LEITAT Technological Center, to develop sectorial guides and communication activities aimed at the implementation of measures promoting circular economy:

  • SUSTEX – Fostering the hazardous chemical products’ substitution in the textile finishing industry.
  • CIRCULARTECH – Study to foster circular economy in the technical textiles’ sector.

Three members of the cluster lead the other of the projects: Technitiger, Etisilk and Hilaturas Arnau with the objective to analyze individual improvement actions on sustainability and circularity of their products and services. AEI Tèxtils will collaborate in diverse tasks within the 3 projects.

Etisilk and Technitiger will develop new products from the waste generated in their productive processes whereas Hilaturas Arnau will develop a portfolio of biodegradable yarns by blending environmental respectful materials.

Another AEI Tèxtils member, the company Pont, Aurell i Armengol, has also obtained financial support from the same call to develop new products from the valorization of carpets and lining fabrics.

Once more, AEI Tèxtils demonstrates that the cluster is an excellent facilitator tool to foster sustainable initiatives within the sector and the potential of the technical textiles’ sector to contribute to circularity and to fight against climate change.

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