Recycling of health-care textile, including single-use garments
|Coordinator||RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB - Jordbruk och Livsmedel|
|Funding from Vinnova||SEK 2 536 000|
|Project duration||October 2017 - January 2020|
|Call||Circular economy - Development & Innovation projects|
Purpose and goal
The project intention was to explore the possibilities to recycle the large, both disposable and multiple use textile material waste streams, which are generated from health care annually. In parallel, Swedish-grown industrial hemp has been evaluated, but revealed too poor textile quality to strengthen recycled textiles (multiple use), as well as conceivable reinforcing fiber in Swedish-made composites, today including imported hemp. However, the medical textiles have been successfully "down-cycled" into useful materials, although of lower quality than originally.
Expected results and effects
The project has shown that both disposable and multiple use medical textiles can be recycled, mainly to a lower quality than originally, but have great improvement potential in terms of recyclability if wise choices of materials are made during product development. The project has also created contacts between regions, who handle procurement of healthcare textiles, material and product producers and recycling companies. Simultaneously, the project has concluded that one or more preparation steps are missing, in order to enable Swedish industrial hemp usable as textile fiber.
Planned approach and implementation
The good intentions of the project, involving many project participants in terms of several national regions, small local recycling companies, material manufacturers, a university, a farmer and research institutes, enabled a great exchange of knowledge between different industries and good opportunities for testing activities. A problem that arose, was the difficulty in maintaining commitment to the project over time as large staff turnover affected most of the participants during the project period. Nevertheless, the project has reached key conclusions and recommendations.