The objective of the project is to demonstrate and to improve the environmental performance of best innovative solutions that are emerging with regard to technical textiles that incorporates nanoparticles in textile finishing industries. Environmental, health and safety impacts will be assessed into its manufacturing operations, and the integration of green technologies will be highly encouraged. The term “green technologies” is defined as “manufacturing processes or product technologies that reduce pollution or waste, energy use and material use in comparison to the technologies that they replace”. The project will be focused on environmental sustainability, notably eco-design of textile finishing processes that incorporate nanoparticles for technical applications in textiles, as for example the biocide, sunscreen, fire-retardants/fireproof, abrasion -resistant, dirt-repellent, self-cleaning, antistatic or hydrophobic and oleophobic finish.
Development of a web based tool to improve the risk assessment and to promote the safe use of nanomaterials in the textile finishing industry
Innovative and environmental policy approaches will be integrated into a dynamic scheme, in which on the one hand the innovative production of ‘nanotextiles’ will be analysed, and at the same time, the environmental, health and safety impacts will be assessed regarding these technologies. Conventional and improved nano textile finishing treatments will be compared; nano-products and chemicals will be assessed under the EU health and safety legislation framework; BAT (best available techniques) will be identified and assessed (sol-gel technique, nano-coatings, polymer/clay applications, etc.); and non-ecological supplies will be replaced by environmentally-friendly systems. Formaldehyde free binding agents will be employed for nanoparticle applications and halogen free flame retardant materials will be strongly encouraged as substitutive solutions.
The proposed methodology for analyzing the environmental performance of these nano-technologies will be LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), which will be focused in the finishing processes in which nanoparticles are applied. The best environmental-friendly solution/s of nano-systems for technical textiles will be demonstrated into two European textile enterprises: one in Spain and the other one in Italy. In addition, these implementation pilots will be monitored, so the concerned methods and instruments will be described in detail in order to contribute to the knowledge base for future implementation processes and upcoming environmental policy. Furthermore, during the monitoring process, potential barriers to the successful development will be identified, so potential solutions will be strongly analyzed to overcome such barriers. The technical and economic viability for further implementation will be also assessed during the monitoring of pilots.
The final project results will be put together in a web based user-friendly tool (as an interactive graphic). With the aim to support future design and implementation, this web-tool is proposed to include the demonstrated environmental, health and safety indicators for implementing nanoparticles techniques for technical applications in textiles, including possible barriers and potential solutions. The selected and demonstrated BAT will serve to update the Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for the Textiles Industry (the current, July 2003).
With the objective to encourage the widest use of the best innovative and environmental solution among Europe, the project partners will develop a dissemination plan which will be focused on spreading the final results among the key stakeholders identified during the project, involving public and private actors (competent bodies for consenting processes of the related textile activities, textile industry, associations and others). Public administrations at local and regional level will be particularly encouraged to spread the project results among the industry located within their competence. Additionally, the demonstrated results will serve the basis to persuade them to include the sustainable criteria into the consenting processes beyond the project. Specific recommendations will be proposed for the incorporation of the project results into future EU legislation and policy, as for example the establishment of labelling requirements and the obligation to notify manufacturers/importers textile products containing nanomaterials.