Sustainable disposal of former work and image clothes
From end-of-life clothing to new circular end product
Textile recycling is still in its infancy. Not only the textile sector plays a major role, large consumers of textile materials can also make a substantial contribution to boost textile recycling or reuse.
Fluvius also wants to take its responsibility in this regard. We are a grid company for everyone in Flanders, which also works on energy transition and climate adaptation. So we have a great social responsibility.
The merger of Eandis, Infrax and Integan has released a lot of old work and image clothes. With this project, in collaboration with Centexbel and Design Atelier van den Boorn, we want to look for the most sustainable way to dispose of it. Thus, we are analysing the technical, organisational and economic feasibility of reusing work clothes, and at the end we want to make the recycled clothes or circular use application available to our staff again.
Fluvius System Operator
PartnersCentexbel, Design Atelier van den Boorn – Pōur
We were able to demonstrate that it is technically feasible to mechanically recycle a modacrylic-viscose fibre into a circular yarn with 25% recyclate.
We developed a circular knitting fabric with which, following the principles of eco-design, we created different types of finished products, such as jumpers, hoodies, hats, scarves and stockings.
Some of the products made up with the circular fabric were offered to our employees and their families. The products were received positively.
As we are committed to the principles of CSR, we collaborated as much as possible with local players from the textile industry during this project.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
It requires strong commitment from local players in the textile industry to bring circular projects to fruition.
The road to a circular economy is not easy. It is a journey of falling down, getting up and moving on again.
Eco-design allows us to manufacture trendy garments that can be recycled again afterwards according to the principles of circular economy. It is important to think about the lifespan and second life of products already in the design process.
During this process, we bumped into the barrier that industrial machines are not yet geared to high-quality mechanical fibres.
12tonnes of clothing collected
25%recyclate in finished product
4local players involved
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
In the future, we want to better gear our collection methods to the recycling process and the end product we have in mind for certain types of clothing or textiles. This can be done by focusing on separate collection containers and clear collection instructions for our own staff.
The research into the valorisation of our EOL clothing is also continuing through another project (CICO hub - Co-creation process: valorisation of residual flows) that is part of the ESF call 'Circular work(s)!'. This support network aims to build bridges between the circular and social economy. Our EOL clothing is one of the three waste streams that will be valorised into new products through co-creation by Howest students, designers and tailoring companies.