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Textiles leave a large footprint on the environment. A large amount of energy, water and chemicals are used in the production of yarns and other fabrics. In addition, washing textiles contributes to the plastic soup. Time for a change.

715,000 tons of clothing, household linen and shoes are discarded each year in France, and only 34 percent of them are collected and recycled. To find a solution, the sector’s eco-organization, Refashion, is organizing an annual innovation challenge in France. The organization aims to identify the most relevant projects for the reuse of textiles, says NL in France in a press release.

Recycling of sneakers

In recent years, this innovation challenge has supported several initiatives that could be of interest to the construction industry. The winners of the 2021 edition, for example, include Revival, which aims to establish the first industrial platform for the recycling of sneakers in France. With its partner Bouyer-Leroux, known for its terracotta products for the construction industry, Revival wants to develop a subfloor for parquet floors from the recycling of elastomeric polymer from the soles of sneakers.

Acoustic wall tiles

Previous editions have also featured original projects that take advantage of the sound-absorbing properties of textiles. For example, Prémices & Co has developed acoustic wall tiles made entirely of recycled fibers. These products are marketed under the name “pierreplume”.

Recycled ceiling tiles

Another example is Le Relais with its acoustic ceiling tile Ekoroom. These ceiling tiles are made of recycled textiles, but have not yet appeared on the market.

Ventilation systems

The company Wecosta, which operates in the automotive industry sector, is now also focusing on the construction sector and is developing a material for ventilation systems inside homes using textiles to reduce noise pollution.

Wooden buildings

With the project Mobiotex, the French technological institute FCBA, is studying the possibility of using recycled textile fibers as essential components of wooden houses. And the company Vert-Tical Nord has developed a plant wall whose substrates have been replaced by recycled textiles. Finally, FabBrick develops structural, insulating and aesthetic bricks from used and recycled textiles.

Mandatory collection

According to the EU Waste Directive, from January 1, 2025, EU countries are obliged to collect used textiles separately. This therefore makes available a large amount of material that can also be used in the construction sector to replace new materials.

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