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Translated by
Isabelle Crossley
Published
Aug 30, 2022
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Inditex joins plastic recycling consortium Whitecycle

Translated by
Isabelle Crossley
Published
Aug 30, 2022

A total of 16 European entities, both public and private, have come together to form a new consortium named Whitecycle. The entity aims to coordinate and develop recycling for complex textile-based plastics. Spanish clothing giant Inditex, French biological recycling specialist Carbios, and French group Michelin are all taking part in the initiative. 


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Announced on August 9, the new gathering of businesses aims primarily to achieve the objectives set out by the European Union for 2030 concerning CO² emissions. The consortium predicts that, by the end of the decade, adopting circular solutions will make it possible to recycle over two million tonnes of PET (complex waste containing textiles) per year and to reduce local CO² emissions by two million tonnes.
 
“PETs originating from end-of-life tires, pipes, and multi-layer garments are currently hard to recycle, but this could all soon change thanks to the results of the project,” said the participating businesses in a joint press release. “Raw materials coming from PET waste processing could be reintegrated into the creation of high-performance products through a circular and viable value chain.”

The consortium has an overall global budget of €9.6 million and funding for Europe totalling close to €7.1 million. The business Michelin will be in charge of coordinating its operations and the group’s partners are based in five countries: France, Spain, Germany, Norway, and Turkey.
 
In addition to Inditex and Carbios, the consortium's industrial partners include Michelin, Mandals, and Kordsa. Other members of the consortium include waste management specialists Synergies LC and Estato, the business software specialist Iris, and product lifecycle analysis specialist Ipoint. Whitecycle also includes five universities: HVL, Institut PPRIME at the University of Poitiers/CNRS, DITF, IFTH, and Erasme, as well as the Axelera industry cluster and project management consulting company Dynergie. 
 
The consortium has highlighted four areas of innovation comprising the development of sorting technology for complex waste streams, pre-treatments and enzyme-based processes to sustainably decompose materials, the repolymerisation of recycled monomers into like new plastic, and the production and quality verification of new products made from recycled plastic. 
 
Recycling materials has become one of the main fields of investigation for the European textile industry, which hopes to eventually find a massive deposit of local materials to utilise. The European confederation Euratex announced the first stage of its project for European textile recycling hubs Rehub in spring. 

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