Using pre-consumer textile waste & agricultural waste to generate valuable products
What are the main challenges?
The management of pre-consumer textile waste in Switzerland faces multiple challenges such as limited recyclers, lack of collaboration, inconsistent waste generation, and the demand for new trends clothing and synthetic fibres derived from fossil fuels. As well as the lack of composting infrastructure, awareness of the negative impact on the environment, and the challenging legal restrictions for composting natural and toxin-free textile waste. To address these challenges and turn textile waste into valuable products, we need technological innovation, investment in recycling infrastructure, and supportive policies.
What led to the development of the intervention strategy?
A participatory design approach was used to uncover the needs and lived experience of the stakeholders closest to the problem area, also known as co-design. This included textile industry experts, students, professional employees and members from the startup company Circular Clothing (CC). CC is an organization dedicated to promoting circularity in the textile industry, which currently consists of eight members using 100% natural, organic toxin-free materials to develop their own apparel. It was revealed that textile waste generated within the organization by members could be a profitable business model, but no system or infrastructure exists to make it happen.
As a result, an intervention strategy was developed, showcasing a future system that valorizes the CC members waste. The project name is Swiss Bioways, a system which converts textile waste and agricultural waste into spinning yarn (upcycling) or compost (downcycling). The combination of both waste streams provides a sufficient and reliable amount of waste that can be used continuously.
How could I help?
The Swiss BIOways projects showcase a transformation of waste and promotes its reductions. It pioneers collaboration amongst stakeholders in the textile industry, waste collectors, and agriculture by bringing together different actors. It fosters knowledge exchange and innovation as well as, addresses environmental challenges such as greenhouse gas emissions and soil degradation.
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