During these first months of the year 2018, a public tender will be carried out to contract the company in charge of the synthesis of the polyester monomer.
The European project LIFE-ECOTEX, focused on closing the cycle of polyester waste from the footwear industry, is in the middle of the implementation process, finishing successfully the production of over 300 kg of BHET, monomer of high added-value. This is the main milestone achieved, since the large amounts obtained allow to demonstrate the feasibility of the project, regarding the recycling of the mentioned waste from the manufacturing of footwear that currently are sent to landfills.
In the next phase of the Project LIFE-ECOTEX this monomer will be polymerised to obtain new sustainable polyester with similar properties to the one produced by the petrochemical industry from non-renewable resources. After that, the production of short fibres of polyester will be carried out and later they will be included in the production of the prototypes previously designed, particularly, new footwear insoles and isolation panels.
The Project LIFE-ECOTEX, leaded by the technology centre GAIKER-IK4 and with the participation of the technology centre CTCR and the companies BETA, LOGROTEX y EKOREC, started in September 2016 with the aim of demonstrating the concept of circular economy applied in the footwear industry, through the chemical recycling of polyester wastes and their conversion into high added value compounds, as in the case of the chemical monomers recovered, particularly bis-(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate or BHET, that can be used for the synthesis of more sustainable new polymers and textile products.
During the first part of the project, the necessary preparatory actions have been carried out to prepare the waste for its inclusion in the chemical reaction process, the chemical processes involved have been simulated, the requirements for the new materials (pellet and ECOTEX fibre) have been defined, the final products have been designed and the pilot process has been implemented to carry out the demonstration of the depolymerisation process through catalytic solvolysis, via glycolysis, of the polyester textile wastes generated by the footwear industry.
Moreover, during the research, several contacts and networking activities have been carried out to support the planned research tasks, as well as to help verify the increasing interest of different industrial sectors to include more sustainable polymers in the production of several final products, such as packaging and textiles.
During the first part of 2018, the public subcontracting of the activities for the synthesis of the polyester monomer will be carried out and the competition will be opened throughout this month. The companies interested in it can contact through the webpage of the Project LIFE-ECOTEX (http://www.life-ecotex.eu/en/).
LIFE15 ENV/ES/000658 LIFE-ECOTEX