Date: 2015 – 2018

Principal Investigator (UAL): Professor Rebecca Earley

Co Investigators (UAL): Dr Kate Goldsworthy, Dr Rosie Hornbuckle

Academic Project Partners: SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Aalto University, Swerea IVF, Cidetec, VTT

SME Project Partners: Material ConneXion Italia, Grado Zero, VanBerlo, tekstina

Larger enterprise Project Partners: Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA), Soex Group, Soktas, Softer Group, Reima, Maier

Trade Organisation Project Partner: Teko

Funded by: European Commission, Horizon 2020


“Trash-2-Cash is a new EU-funded research project that aims to design high-quality products from zero-value waste textiles and fibres via design driven technologies. Professor Rebecca Earley and the TED team is collaborating with 18 partners from 9 European countries, forming a unique multidisciplinary team of designers, scientists, researchers, manufacturers and SMEs (small/medium enterprises).” 


There are growing problems with paper fibre waste from the paper industry and textile fibre waste, originating from continuously increasing textile consumption. Cotton production suffers from non-sustainable environmental and socio-economical issues, and the polyester fibre manufacturing process produces waste that to date has no viable deposition. Trash-2-Cash recognises the critical need to address this problem head-on, finding the solution through design-driven innovation. This will be realised by using the waste to regenerate fibres that will be integrated into fashion, interior, automotive and other products.


Design and material researchers will drive this recycling initiative, defining the material properties and working with a range of scientists to develop eco-efficient cotton fibre regeneration and polyester recycling techniques. The future exploitation will be ascertained through a two-sided exchange between the designers and the end-product manufacturers, also taking into account the consumer-related product needs. Prototypes will be produced in a realistic test production environment.


Europe's creative industry will be strengthened through Trash-2-Cash taking the lead worldwide in the future of design for recycled materials. The project will significantly contribute to the overall vision of closing the material loop. Furthermore, it will support a better waste utilisation and be instrumental to reduction of landfill area needs.


The Trash-2-Cash project commenced on 1 June 2015 and runs for 3.5 years. EU funding is 9 million euros. University of the Arts London is the UK based project partner who is responsible for Work Page 8 – the communication, dissemination and exploitation work. They also play a key role in the design and facilitation of workshop activities to generate insights and support partners in making evaluated decisions throughout the process.

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