Addressing freshwater scarcity and pollution in textile manufacturing
CPI is working with an international consortium to develop a closed loop filtration system that recycles textile effluent
Waste2Fresh is an ongoing project aiming to tackle the issues of wastewater and pollution in the global textiles industry. Funded by EUH20 and coordinated by Konya Technical University in Turkey, Waste2Fresh is led by a multinational consortium of 17 industrial and academic partners across Europe, including CPI.
We are currently working on the development and commercialisation of a closed-loop system to recycle textile manufacturing wastewater.
The textiles and fashion industry is the second most water-intensive industry globally, using an enormous 93 billion cubic metres of fresh water every year, which is four percent of all freshwater extraction globally. On current trends, this amount is set to double by 2030.
Not only does textiles manufacture use vast volumes of water to wash, dilute, heat, and cool textiles, but wastewater is a significant polluter of rivers and oceans, often containing harmful chemicals like dyes that do not biodegrade. In fact, the global textiles industry produces 20% of the world’s water pollution.
This presents a major global challenge to our aqueous ecosystems, water resources, and has harmful effects on the climate. A solution to this could mean giant steps forward for the sustainability of the fashion industry, and the EU and World’s climate targets, and meet the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) standards.
- We have built a small-scale, closed-loop water technology system.
- This system recycles wastewater using novel and innovative catalytic degradation approaches with highly selective separation and extraction techniques.
- The process takes textile effluents and extracts heavy ions and other pollutants, turning wastewater back into purified water that textile factories can use again.
- With a closed-loop system, polluted water cannot escape from the system, and other resources such as metals, salts and organic resources are collected for use elsewhere.
Our next step is to build the model on a bigger scale to be implemented at large factories. We are aiming to create a model that reuses around 95% of wastewater for industrial processes and has near-zero discharge.
The potential global impact of Waste2Fresh is tremendous. By reducing the volume of freshwater the industry uses and preventing pollution, the fashion industry could become fully sustainable.
- A large scale closed-loop filtration system will:
- Clean and recycle wastewater
- Prevent dumping of contaminated water
- Reduce demand on fresh water resources
- Recycle energy and other scarce materials used in the textile manufacturing process
Waste2Fresh could also be developed for other energy and water-intensive industries such as agriculture, automotive, and dairy production. It has the potential to transform global manufacturing industries and completely change how we use the earth's natural resources like water and energy. This could pave the way for global change, returning substantial gains against EU and global environmental footprints, and meet the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) standards.
We are very excited about the final outcome of this project in November 2023. Watch this space.