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Mattress cover case study (Re)use of circular textile raw materials

The circular economy is booming in the textiles sector. A few important first steps that have been taken so far, as well as (often theoretical) case studies prove this point. However, to date no company in the textiles sector has managed to successfully work all raw materials of a product back into the chain without loss of quality. Circutex focuses on the reprocessing of mattress covers within a circular model, the creation of a very short supply chain through cooperation with local partners, the use of eco-friendly fibres and materials that have been recycled in Europe, and production and lifecycle optimisation based on a set of sustainability parameters. Such new, locally produced textiles can replace the traditional linear business model.

However, the circular economy poses both challenges and potential risks. It often calls for a (radical) adaptation of the production, use and processing of products. Companies need to thoroughly change their products, business processes and models.

In doing so, the expectations and motivation of users/consumers must be taken into account. Concrete product specifications, such as safety, comfort and design, must be provided to guarantee the commercial success of circular products. New raw materials, product and process innovations are the true key aspects of the circular economy.

This project aims to provide a solution for the challenges and risks, prove this is a feasible initiative and determine the necessary preconditions and agreements for the set-up of a circular production process for a specific textile product, namely a mattress cover. Mattress covers represent a high production volume, mostly in Flanders, as well as high complexity levels. The latter means that in the switch to a circular model, various elements and parameters need to be taken into consideration across the entire production process, from raw material to finished product. This study systematically tackles these elements and parameters. Due to the challenges outlined, as well as the stricter future legislation on the take-back obligation for mattresses, circular solutions will become a must to limit waste and keep businesses competitive.

AVS Spinning NV (deel van European Spinning Group)

Partners Maes Dyeing & Finishing, Centexbel