EcoMeTex is a research project funded under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union under the programm NMP-FP7-2011-3.1-1 Eco-design for new products under grant agreement no. 280751
Ecodesign methodology for recyclable textile coverings used in the European construction and transport industry
The overall aim of EcoMeTex was to develop a tailored ecodesign methodology for optimising the design of textile coverings with regard to eco-efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
This comprises an analysis of the entire life cycle, identification significant environmental and economic impacts and hence potential for improvements, guaranteeing high product quality, as well as high product safety.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) allows to identify the crucial weak points in the life cycle and to assess improvement strategies to achieve an environmentally sensitive product design. LCA informs designers and developers concerning the implications of their choices on the environmental impacts and is therefore a decision-making tool.
The innovative methodology faces the challenge to solve the paradox of textiles coverings:
- On the one hand the bonding of the multi layers has to be solid and high-quality raw materials are used in different combinations to ensure long lasting products.
- On the other hand the multi layers have to be easy to dismantle for recycling, but dismantling procedures to facilitate material recycling are not yet part of the product design processes. Concepts focussing on technologies to recycle ‘state of the art’ textile coverings failed due to complex mechanical or chemical separation procedures and consequently due to their high cost- and low eco-effectiveness.
Re-design comprises not only optimisation of currently used material sets or manufacturing and distribution processes but also product and process innovations: It covers the development of innovative material adaptations as well as new approaches within the manufacturing process, recovery and reuse stage itself.
The focus of the EcoMeTex project is the design of a closed loop system of resources and raw materials enabling and facilitating full material recycling.
The feasibility of the re-design concepts will be proven by producing prototypes of eco-designed textile floor coverings. The work will be completed by describing the methodology in a Code of Practice which will be implemented in a customised, practical and intuitive software tool. The environmental communication of the received results is based on LCA results in the EN 15804 format. These Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are already widely used in the EU construction sector and provide data for architects and planers in a standardized format. The transferability of the ecodesign methodology for textile floor coverings to other sectors will be analysed using the example of luggage coverings for automotive applications representing the transport sector.
To achieve these goals three basic strategies where selected: