The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has announced two pilot projects demonstrating the potential for recycling textile fibres from pre-consumer textile waste from Morocco’s textile and clothing industry.
On 31 March, the projects were announced during the annual Maroc in Mode event to actors from Morocco’s textile and clothing industry and will be carried out until the end of 2022 as part of the EU-funded SwitchMed/MED TEST III project.
Under the SwitchMed programme, UNIDO, together with the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Environment, international fashion brands, and key partners along the textile and garment supply chain, evaluates the industrial scale of pre-consumer textile waste streams and demonstrates business models on how to valorize pre-consumer and post-industrial textile waste in Morocco better.
Pre-consumer and post-industrial waste are generated from the produttion of textiles and garments and consist of cutting scraps, second quality products, spillage, and other textile wastes. A recently published project study estimates the pre-consumer textile waste from Morocco’s textile and clothing value chain to be 83,200 tons per year. Up to 56% of this waste contains high-value materials such as 100% cotton or cotton-rich waste. But to recycle at an industrial scale without compromising quality and costs, the pre-consumer textile waste streams need to be categorized and organized according to type and quality.
The two identified demonstration projects will showcase the different steps and business models for valorizing pre-consumer textile waste in Morocco, focusing on recovering cotton fibres and recycling textile fibres for yarns and non-woven applications.
In cooperation with EVLOX, a leading Moroccan manufacturer of denim and a supplier to leading European brands, including the OTB group (Diesel), the first pilot project will demonstrate the manufacturing of quality yarns with recycled content while exploring the potential of the local supply for pre-consumer textile waste for recycled fibres.
With an annual production of 15 million meters of premium denim, EVLOX is looking for ways to increase the share of recycled cotton fibres in its denim fabrics and is exploring the potential for an investment in a recycling plant to meet the market requests and sustainability objectives of their clients.
“Circular Economy is at the core of the OTB group sustainability strategy. We believe that working hand-in-hand with our partners and suppliers while engaging with local institutions and supporting international organizations such as UNIDO is fundamental to solving one of the biggest issues that the fashion industry has: waste. We are committed to pursuing the engagement with our Moroccan partners to find effective solutions that benefit all the actors along to value chain,” says Sara Mariani, Chief Sustainability Officer in the OTB group.
In the second pilot project, Novimat – Casafibre, a leading Moroccan producer of polyester staple fibre from recycled PET, has invested in equipment to produce non-woven applications (insulation panels for construction, automotive, fillings etc.) and is interested in the market and production prospects in this area. The company will demonstrate for the second pilot project the market potential for using local pre-consumer textile waste that is not suited for fashion-to-fashion recycling to feed the production of non-woven applications and evaluate the options for an investment in a textile shredding line for this purpose.
Both demonstration projects are coordinated by Blumine, who, together with a team of international experts, will provide technical support to the two Moroccan companies.
“We are happy to support the EVLOX’s Textile to Textile approach to demonstrate the feasibility of high-quality yarn from recycled cotton in the denim industry and the Novimat group major step forward to produce technical textiles from recycled materials. The two projects are building the future of the Moroccan textile industry,” says Pascal Denizart, Managing Director of CETI (Centre Européen des Textile Innovantes) and team leader of CETI engineers.
Outcomes from the two industry demonstration projects will be used in developing a roadmap for Morocco on recycling pre-consumer textile waste. The roadmap intends to support authorities, industry federations, and actors in Morocco’s textile and clothing value chain on how to remove obstacles that impede a practical, feasible and profitable valorization of pre-consumer textile waste in Morocco.
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