In November 2011, the Habitat SBS team – university lecturers and experts in the fields of waste management, non-woven textile, construction materials and insulations, and energy efficiency, developed and presented a proposal for financing the project “Thermal Insulating Materials made of Textile Waste – development of an innovative product and technology for its production” as per the procedure BG161PO003-1.1.05 “Development of innovations by start-up companies”, under the Operational Programme “Development of the Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy”. The project implementation contract with the Managing Authority of the Operational Programme was signed in February, 2013.
The main activities under the project are:
- Project administration and management;
- Elaboration of a step-by-step plan for development of alternative thermal Insulating products (TIP);
- Laboratory and feasibility studies on innovative TIP;
- Life cycle analysis (LCA) and Life cycle cost analysis (LCC) of the innovative TIP;
- Economic and financial evaluation of the innovative product and technology for its production;
- Manufacturing of TIPROT prototypes, based on the optimized TIP and functional modelling, with demonstration of their installation in an experimental dwelling;
- Development of a detailed manufacturing technology for the innovative insulating material;
- Research and actions for intellectual property protection at both national and international level;
- Market analysis and development of a marketing plan for distribution of the innovative product;
- Promotion of the innovative product.
Why Thermal Insulation of Textile Waste?
Habitat strives for providing the needy households and families in risk, with simple dwellings at lowest possible investment costs, but ensuring decent liv- ing conditions and cheap maintenance. Guided by this goal, the organization seeks for acceptable solutions for reducing the prices of dwellings, while preserving their comfort and affordability. One prospective solution is to use waste as a raw material for production of thermal insulating materials. The waste generated by the textile industry was identified as very convenient resource. According to Regulation No. 2 dated 23.07.2014 on the waste classification, that type of waste is described by the following codes : 04 02 21 wastes from unprocessed textile fibres; 04 02 22 wastes from processed textile fibres, as well as by 15 01 09 for textile packaging. According to data of the National Statistical Institute, in 2009 only 5 % of the generated tex- tile waste was handed-over for recovery processes, and 16,6 % out of that quantity was exported abroad. In addition to the industrial textile waste, textile fractions of household waste, with code 20 01 11 (for example, old clothes), might be con- sidered, provided they are collected separately. Since that type of textile waste is currently reported as a part of the general household waste, there are no accurate data on its quantity, but it is commonly accepted that the quantity of textile waste continuously increases with the improvement of the living standard.
The analysis conducted shows the availability of a free resource which may be used for production of a cheap insulating material which contributes to the achievement of the goals stipulated by the Framework Directive on waste 2008/98/ ЕС and to meeting the requirements for sustainable use of the natural resources as per Regulation No. 305/ 2011 of the European Commission (09.03.2011) and laid down in the “Road Map for Resource-Efficient Europe” published by the EC on 20.09.2011.