The New Cotton Project is a world first with twelve pioneering players coming together to demonstrate an entirely circular model for commercial garment production.
This week we meet Tapio Tirri from Xamk to discuss his involvement in the project.
Please give an overview of your company and job role.
South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk) is a responsible institute of higher education focusing on wellbeing, technology and creative industries. Its research, development and innovation (RDI) activities are divided into four focus areas: Forest, the Environment and Energy; Sustainable Wellbeing; Digital Economy; and Logistics, Marine Technology and Transport. Our work in these areas aims to create ecosystems that generate innovations, combining research, education and business activities. In addition, Xamk operates and develops novel and relevant research infrastructure and laboratories in order to support its RDI activities and projects.
Xamk Savonlinna Fiber and Process Engineering Laboratory provides analysis, piloting and research services to companies in the forest, environmental and process engineering industries. In addition to the forest industry, we invest heavily in the development of environmental technology, and in particular, water processes, research and service activities. We focus on collaborating with leading companies in the field to develop the technologies of the future, whilst also expanding our analysis and test drive activities.
What is your participation in the New Cotton Project?
Xamk FiberLaboratory researches and tests how the equipment developed for the treatment of wood fiber-water suspension is suitable for the treatment of various cotton fractions. The main task of the Xamk FiberLaboratory in the New Cotton project is to pilot-scale pre-treatments of the collected cotton raw material for further processing by Infinited Fiber Company. These pre-treatments remove impurities from the cotton and prepare it for further processing by Infinited Fiber Company.
What challenges and pitfalls do you think will arise in the New Cotton Project?
Major challenges at the beginning of the cotton waste recycling process include the purity of the cotton collected and the crushing of the cotton to a suitable fiber length. In order for cotton recycling to be in line with the principles of sustainable development, the minimization of water use and the recycling of chemicals used in the process must also be carefully planned, as must the proper treatment of the cleaning waste generated.
Where do you see the greatest opportunities in collaboration?
The new contacts created through the collaboration will enable the creation of new networks and facilitate the generation of interdisciplinary projects for new research projects in the future. Interdisciplinarity and new ways of thinking are essential in creating new circular economy systems.
Where do you see the future of circularity in the fashion and textiles industry?
Circularity will be more and more important in the fashion and textiles industry. Not only because the administration demands for better sustainability but also because the increased awareness about environmental factors of the consumers.