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Novel, sustainable and circular bio-based textiles
A successful proposal will contribute to expected impacts under the Destination 'Circular economy and bioeconomy sectors', in line with the European Green Deal, the EU bioeconomy strategy and its action plan, the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030, the circular economy action plan (CEAP), the chemicals strategy for sustainability, the EU textiles strategy, the EU zero pollution action plan as well as the New European Bauhaus initiative and the EU industrial strategy.
In particular, expected impacts to be addressed by successful proposals include: i) enhancing European industrial sustainability, competitiveness and resource independence; ii) accelerating regional, rural, local, urban and consumer-based transitions towards a sustainable, regenerative, inclusive, just and clean circular economy and bioeconomy as well as iii) the development of innovative and sustainable value-chains in the bio-based sectors, substituting fossil-based ones.
Proposal results are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:
- Significantly reduce the negative environmental impact of textiles throughout their lifecycle. This impact encompasses primary raw materials and water consumption, land use and indirect land use change, as well as GHGs and other pollutants emissions (zero pollution), via addressing circularity-by-design and sustainable production aspects (the latter including thus also resource efficiency and circularity of resources improvements).
- Significantly increase recyclability and circularity of textiles; it is estimated that currently there is a very low rate of recyclability of textiles into new textiles, worldwide.
- Increase the use of EU (locally/regionally-sourced) alternative, bio-based fibres (including the reuse of bio-based textiles in their present form and in novel forms of use).
- Address social impacts (e.g., HS&E and working conditions), in addition to environmental effects; projects should ensure sustainable, circular and socially just textile production and consumption at EU level, while international cooperation is strongly encouraged. The latter will allow for enhancing further on the sustainable production and consumption of textiles while improving on the replication potential of the proposed innovations.
- Empower and increase SMEs participation and improve academia/industry/feedstock &fibres suppliers' interactions and collaboration.
- Establish new and innovative circular bio-based value chains with a positive impact on EU competitiveness and jobs creation at regional, rural and local levels.
Overall, the call addresses the design, demonstration and scale-up of production of sustainable and circular, bio-based textiles for one or more applications: e.g., technical textiles, garments, industrial textiles, home textiles; including also innovative smart textiles and those providing additional functionalities (e.g., antimicrobial or fire resistance properties). Blended, but only bio-based compositions, are included hereby.
More specifically, the overall scope should be addressed by the projects via:
- Valorisation of secondary biomass, residues and under-utilised (primary or secondary) biomass (sustainable biomass sourcing, land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) and biodiversity considerations should be addressed/showcased) for bio-based textiles. Moreover, the reuse of fibres from bio-based textiles to produce circular bio-based textiles is in scope;
- Design for circularity, enabling thus material design for durability, end-of-life recyclability, re-use and upcycling (including usability of waste fibres), with attention to the final application(s)/end use of textiles;
- Design for end-product quality, safety, and durability, with consideration of the sustainability and circularity of textiles value chains and the final application/end-use; this does include preventing micro- and nano- plastics/fibres release throughout the lifecycle of textiles;
- Development, demonstration and scale-up of novel processes by deploying appropriate enabling technologies to significantly reduce the environmental footprint of textiles, across their production steps (pre-treatment, mordanting, dyeing, and finishing steps), improving notably on climate neutrality and against zero pollution. Moreover, apply industrial, industrial-urban and other symbiosis concepts, where necessary to achieve and enhance targeted outcomes and impacts;
- Assess the environmental and social sustainability performance of the proposed innovations (textiles production and textiles lifecycle), while including technoeconomic feasibility assessment as well. The methodologies of assessment should follow existing EU standards;
- Integrate the Safe-and-Sustainable-by-Design (SSbD) framework, developed by the Commission, for assessing the safety and sustainability of chemicals and materials. Contribute with and develop recommendations that can advance further the application of the SSbD framework. More specifically, provide thresholds that can support the criteria definition and improvements for the assessment SSbD methodologies, including any specificities related with bio-based textiles. Recommendations can also include identification of data gaps, especially safety, environmental, but also socio-economic factors, as well as priorities for data collection.
- Address, consumer behaviour, acceptance and demand aspects for circular and sustainable bio-based textiles;
- Assess existing barriers to implementing circular economy business models for textiles; on this basis create innovative, sustainable and circular business models for the (EU and local) production and consumption of circular bio-based textiles. The participation of industry and particularly SMEs is strongly encouraged.
Projects are also expected to contribute to the New European Bauhaus (NEB) initiative by interacting with the NEB Community, NEB Lab and other relevant actions of the NEB initiative through sharing information, best practice, and, where relevant, results.
Where relevant, proposals should seek links with and capitalise on the results of past and ongoing EU funded research projects, (Horizon 2020, LIFE, Horizon Europe) including the ones under the Circular Bio-based Europe JU (CBE JU) and other partnerships of Horizon Europe.
Proposals should also include a dedicated task, appropriate resources and a plan on how they will collaborate with other projects funded under this topic and other relevant topics.
Social Science and Humanities (SSH), social innovation and international cooperation aspects are also applicable to this topic and it is highly encouraged to address them as cross-cutting issues.
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