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Aplinkos tyrimai, ininerija ir vadyba, 2008.Nr.2(44), P. 41-48 Environmental Research, Engineering and Management, 2008. No.2(44), P.


ISSN 1392-1649

A Survey of Textile Waste Generated in Lithuanian Textile, Apparel and Soft Furniture Industries
Gailut Kazakeviit, Rima Ramanauskien and Aura Abraitien
Lithuanian Textile Institute

(received in March, 2008; accepted in May, 2008) In this study the results of the survey of textile waste generated in Lithuanian textile, apparel and soft furniture industries are presented. On the basis of data obtained from the companies interviews, the amount of textile waste produced in companies with a different degree of integration, the waste composition, the nature of waste and the waste recycling level have been investigated. The composition and amount of lanfilled waste reported by different types of companies have been analysed in greater detail. The proposals regarding an increase in the recyclable textile waste amounts and manufacturing of higher added value products from textile waste are introduced. Key words: textile production waste, textile waste recycling level, higher added value products from textile waste, waste composition, nonwoven materials.


Introduction additional costs to bear of their management (collection, storage and utilization). Post-industrial textile waste consists of thread waste, cuttings, fabric borders, fibre waste, cotton fluff and the like, which result from textile and clothing production processes. Part of this waste is recycled into new textile fabrics intended for technological purposes and new yarns for textile fabric production, or it is used as wipers in various industry fields [1]. Still, a significant part of textile production waste is landfilled. The transportation of textile waste for landfilling requires additional investments including the continuously increasing pressure of taxation for waste disposal and transportation costs. With the EU Environmental Law getting stricter, the process of waste landfilling will become more loss-making. The waste, as a valuable resource, will necessarily be recycled into new products at the greatest extent possible. The Resolution of the European Parliament concerning different type waste recycling strategy [2] puts stress on obtaining an increase in the recycling volume of certain waste-material flows and, consequently, on the necessity to categorize the waste sources and also foresee recycling rates together with

Although the majority of textile waste originates from household sources, it also arises during yarn and fabric manufacture, garment-making and soft furniture manufacturing processes. These waste textiles are termed post-industrial waste, as opposed to post-consumer waste nearly half of which in developed countries goes to charity shops. As far as Lithuanian textile, apparel and furniture manufacturing industries are topping the list of the most developed industries, a particular attention should be given to the management of textile waste arising during manufacturing processes. Post-industrial or production textile waste handling is a complex issue. First of all, the solution to this problem is inseparable from the origin of waste i.e. production processes with the technologies involved that should determine the minimum volume of waste. While wasteless technologies of manufacturing are not prevailing throughout the textile industry and its related sectors, development of new uses of textile waste presents the main concept of waste management. Production waste materials cause substantial losses in resources and energy, and also create environmental problems together with

G. Kazakeviit, R. Ramanauskien and A. Abraitien

the responsibility of manufacturers. The Resolution prohibits burying of all recyclable waste, including textile waste, from the year 2015 and prohibits burying of all residual waste, except the cases when the burying is inevitable or a danger arises, from the year 2025. It is believed that 95% of textile waste that goes for landfilling may be recycled and utilized. During textile fabrics manufacturing from the waste, a significantly less amount of energy is used than manufacturing them from new raw materials and less quantities of water and chemicals as well. Consequently, economical and ecological effects are achieved [3]. Handling of textile production waste is a complex issue embracing a number of market participants. This issue is related to the enterprises where the waste is generated, to the waste collection companies, to those involved in preliminary recycling and to those companies that are involved in new product manufacturing from the waste. To establish the volume of textile wastematerials, their properties and the recycling level in Lithuanian textile, clothing and soft furniture production companies, a survey has been conducted, the results of which are presented in the chapters below. 2. Survey Methods

the volume of textile waste being sold, the quantity and properties of landfilled textile wastes. The data concerning textile waste covers the year 2006. The processing of the results obtained has been conducted applying the usual methods of statistical analysis. 3. Characteristics of Textile Waste in Lithuanian Textile, Apparel and Soft Furniture Manufacturing Companies

3.1. Volume of Textile Waste in Enterprises with Different Degree of Production Integration The amount of textile production waste depends on the integration degree of an enterprise, i.e. on the number of production processes being conducted there. The overall waste amount throughout the entire cycle of a textile fabric production from yarn manufacturing to fabric sewing may constitute up to 40-50% of raw materials quantity [4]. When analysing the amount of waste being generated in different enterprises in proportion to the quantity of raw material used in a production process, it is obvious (Table 1), that the amount of waste generated depends on the number of production processes and on their complexity. The analysis of the waste amounts has shown that in proportion to the quantity of the raw materials used, the amounts of textile waste in the textile industry companies constitute approximately 0.710%, in the apparel industry companies - 3-20%, and in the soft furniture manufacturing companies they reach 3-10%. These data coincide with the data reported from other countries and presented in literature sources [4, 5]. Still a significant difference in the relative amounts of waste among the enterprises of the same type is observed. For instance, the amount of textile waste generated in the apparel industry companies covers the interval of 3-22% in proportion to the raw materials used. The results of the survey have shown that the relative amount of the waste generated depends on the automatization degree of a production process, the size of the company and production organization (e.g., implementation of the Environmental Management standards). Such difference in the relative quantities of waste materials generated indicates that the reduction in waste material quantity throughout the production process (in apparel industry, in particular) has a considerable reserve and it should be the one among the main aspects with priorities given in the process of cleaner production development.

To establish the volume of textile production waste-materials and the recycling level, a survey has been conducted involving the top Lithuanian textile, clothing and soft furniture production enterprises. 18 textile companies, 12 apparel industry companies and 10 companies of soft furniture production have been surveyed by questioning. The quantity and size of the companies that have been questioned reflect the main tendencies towards textile production waste in textile, apparel and soft furniture manufacturing industries. It should be emphasized that a part of apparel and soft furniture production companies in the country are small scale ones, where a small part of production is manufactured, consequently, an insignificant amount of production waste is generated there, therefore such companies have not been covered by the survey. The following has been intended to establish during the survey: the volume of textile waste generated during various processes in textile, apparel and soft furniture manufacturing industry in proportion to the quantity of raw materials used , the composition of textile waste, the main properties of textile waste, the nature of the wastes (cuttings, thread waste and the like), the waste recycling level in the company,


A Survey of Textile Waste Generated in Lithuanian Textile, Apparel and Soft Furniture Industries

Table 1.

Characteristics of textile production waste materials and their quantities in different companies generating textile waste

Production processes in the company Production of chemical fibres Yarn production Yarn production, fabric production, finishing Woven fabric production and finishing Knitted fabric production, finishing and fabric sewing Knitted garments production Garment sewing Manufacture of soft furniture

Character of wastes Acetate and polyamide thread waste, nondyed Ropes, sliver ends, fibre strand, thread waste, floor sweepings, rove waste, combing noils from carding machines Tow, thread waste, weighable cuttings (flax processing companies), Combing noils, thread waste, yarn, woven fabric cuttings, floor sweepings (wool processing companies) Cuttings of finished and non-finished woven fabrics. Thread waste from weaving warp Knitted fabric cuttings, finished and nonfinished fabric cuts, yarn waste Yarn, knitted fabric cuts, dyed yarn, cuttings Waste from templets, sewing thread waste Waste from templets, sewing thread waste

Amount of waste generated, % of the raw materials used Lithuanian Reference data [4, 5] companies 0.7 1.0-3.0; 1.0-7.0 4.5-7.0 3.1-10.2 3.0-5.0; 1.0-20.0 6.0-10.0; 7.0-38.0

3.6 6.0 8.7-21.5 4.5-10.5 3.0-22.0 3.0-10.0

3.0-5.0; 6.0-16.0 13.0-25.0; 15.0-36.0 3.0-5.0; 2.0-6.0 5.0-20.0; 10.0-20.0 not presented

The usage of textile waste for new product manufacturing is connected to certain requirements for the waste. The main data on textile waste are the composition and character of the waste. Having analysed the waste generated in Lithuanian enterprises (Table 2), the conclusion has been made that natural fibre wastes are prevailing (cotton, flax, wool) (47.4%), and the greatest part of natural fiber waste consists of cotton waste (36.02%). Another significant part of the waste (40.74%) is mixed fibre waste (polyester/cotton, wool/acrylan, cotton/acrylan and a considerable part of non-identified mixed fibre waste). The artificial and synthetic fibre waste constitutes only insignificant part of the entire waste (13.52%), and acrylan fibre waste prevails among them.
Table 2. Textile waste composition

Seq No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Waste composition Mixed fibers Cotton Flax/linen Wool Artificial fibres Polyester Polyamide Polyacrilnitrile Feather-fluff

Amount, % 40.74 36.02 7.71 2.01 1.87 1.78 0.18 8.97 0.72

While analysing the content of textile waste materials and taking into account their character, the following kinds of waste may be separated out (Table 3): textile 43

fabric cuttings, thread waste, non-woven fabrics, flax tow, ropes, filament, fibre strands, combing noils from carding machines, rove waste, floor sweepings, textile fabrics with coating, fluff-feathers. The main part of all waste (62.5%) consists of textile material cuttings. These are cuttings of a different size with dyeing defects, stained, knitted fabric cuts up to 2 kg of weight, fine knitted fabric waste, woven fabric borders, weighted cuttings of woven fabrics (0.1-2 m length), cutouts from garment sewing industry, templets and fine waste from soft furniture production enterprises. Thread waste constitutes 12.8% of overall waste. This waste is dyed, bleached or natural and it may be flax, cotton, synthetic and mixed thread waste. Thread waste results from knitted fabric, weaving production processes and it is generated as remnants of sewing threads in apparel industry companies. Some part of the threads is on conuses. The waste of non-woven materials (10.7% of all waste) is generated in production processes in apparel and soft furniture companies, and in the production process of non-woven materials as well. Flax tow, ropes, slivers, fibre strands, combing noils from carding machines, rove waste and floor sweepings are generated during a yarn production process. The quantity of these wastes constitutes 12.9 % of all waste. A specific type of the waste is feather-fluff, which is generated during a production process of pillows and blankets (0.7% of all waste). It should be emphasized that a part of textile waste materials appears to be possessing special valuable properties. Those are textile fabrics with reduced

G. Kazakeviit, R. Ramanauskien and A. Abraitien

combustibility, waterproof, cut resistant, of particular strength and other properties. Such waste fabrics are generated during the production processes of soft furniture manufacturing and in apparel industry companies (sewing of protective clothing). Such
Table 3. Textile waste amount in respect of their character

textile fabrics could be used in development of new textile products of higher added value. Still, these waste materials have not been collected separately and sorted in the greatest part of the enterprises.

Textile fabric cuttings Thread waste

Non woven materials Flax tow Rope, sliver, fibre strand Combing noils from carding machines Rove waste Floor sweepings Textile fabrics with coating Fluff - feathers

Characteristic Amount, t Amount, % Knitted fabric cutouts of different size, stained, with dying 1747.9 62.5 defects up to 2 kg, fine knitted fabric waste, woven fabric borders, weighted cuts of woven fabrics (0.1-2 m length), templet cutouts from garment industry enterprises Dyed, bleached or natural. Flax, cotton, synthetic, mixed. 359.6 12.8 The waste from knitted and woven fabrics. The thread remnants from garment industry enterprises. Some part of the threads is on conuses. Cuttings of sewing fabric lays, wastes from non-woven fabric 298.0 10.7 production Yarn production waste 66.8 2.4 Forming ends of ropes, slivers and fibre strands 221.0 7.8 Short-staple fibre Synthetic and blended fibre waste Waste from production of extremely fine wool and blended fibre Woven fabrics of synthetic and fibre blends with polyvinyl chloride, polyurethane coating Clean fine wastes of fluff and feathers 29.5 14.0 29.9 10.5 20.0 1.1 0.5 1.1 0.4 0.7

While analysing the recycling level of textile waste generated during the production processes (Table 4), it may be noticed that in the companies that generate waste 12.1% of an overall amount of waste is recycled, the amount corresponding 14.4% is sold to the collection entities, 24.7% is sold to the waste recycling enterprises, 0.2% is sold to the retail traders, 0.8% is sold to individuals, 0.1% is given away for charity, 0.1% is used to satisfy the enterprises demands and 47.6 %, is transported for landfilling. The waste recycled in the companies consists of yarn production waste (the ends of polyacrylonitrile, polyacrylonitrile/wool and wool filament) and nonwoven materials. The character of waste being transported for landfilling may differ: a certain number of companies are transporting all waste for lanfilling, whereas other companies of the same sector and manufacturing analogous production (in particular apparel industry companies), are selling all waste to the waste collecting individuals or to the waste-recycling enterprises. This shows that reduction in the waste amount that is landfilled has a reserve indeed. The analysis of the composition of the textile waste being landfilled shows (Table 5) that the biggest amount of waste being transported for landfilling consists of mixed fibre waste. Such waste constitutes 55.1% of overall landfilled waste, and chemichal waste constitutes 5.1%. Utilization of

textile waste from chemical fibres and those with chemical fibre additives appears to be a great problem, as these fibres are not biodegradable, thus the task of recycling the waste with these fibres should be given the priority. The natural fibre waste being transported for landfilling constitutes 39.8%. Among textile waste a significant quantity of valuable materials exists, which could be used for new product development (e.g., waste in apparel companies for sewing protective clothing). While analysing the amount of waste in respect of a type of enterprises (Table 6), it could be seen that average amount of waste attributed to one textile company is approximately 93 t., to one apparel company - approximately 83 t, to a soft furniture production company - approximately 13 t. It should be emphasized that at the soft furniture production companies, the waste amount generated is greater, still it is used in the production process for secondary (collateral) production (cushions, furniture finishing and others) and it is not calculated into the waste amount. The greatest amount of waste transported for lanfilling from 40 enterprises surveyed is from apparel companies. This amount constitutes 52% of all surveyed waste being transported, textile production - 39% of all such waste, and soft furniture - 9%, respectively (Table 6).


A Survey of Textile Waste Generated in Lithuanian Textile, Apparel and Soft Furniture Industries

Table 4.

Textile waste amount and type managed by different methods

Waste management method Recycled at the enterprises Sold to the waste collecting individuals Sold to the wasterecycling enterprises

Waste type Ends of polyacrylnitrile, polyacrylnitrile wool and wool filament, non-woven materials Mixed textile fabric wastes, thread waste generated in knitted fabric and weaving production processes, fine combing noils, coarse combing noils, thread waste generated in spinning Mixed textile fabric wastes, cuttings up to 10 cm2, tiny knitted fabric waste, cuttings 3-10 cm, 11-20 cm, acetate, acetate-polyamide thread waste, polyacrylum and blended fibre waste from spinning, wool spinning waste, cutouts from templets Textile cuttings, flax tow Polyacrylnitrile sweepings Textile fabric cuttings with coatings 0.25-0.5 m2 Sacks and wipers are made Tiny cuttings of sewing, knitting spoilage, greased rugs, textile production cuttings, soft furniture production textile waste (gobelin, batting), fluff-feather waste, floor sweepings

Waste amount, t 339.3 400.8

Waste amount, % 12,1 14,4



Sold to the retail traders Sold to the individuals Given away for charity Used for enterprises demands Landfilled

4.2 23.1 3.6 3.4 1332.6

0,2 0,8 0,1 0,1 47.6

Table 5.

Characteristic of the waste transported for landfilling

Waste composition Natural fibres (cotton, flax, wool, mixed natural fibres) Chemical fibres Mixed fibres (natural+chemical)
Table 6.

Characteristic Cutouts from templets in garment industry, warp thread waste, fine waste of knitted and woven fabrics, fibre production waste Thread waste from garment industry, knitted and woven fabric cuttings, non-woven fabrics Garment industry cuttings, knitting spoilage, woven fabric production cuttings, warp and knitting thread waste, soft furniture production waste

Amount,% 39.8 5.1 55.1

Waste amount and recycling degree in respect of enterprise type

Enterprise type

Overall amount of waste, t 1671.2 1001.0 124.9

Textile production Apparel industry Soft furniture production

Average amount of waste in company, t 93 83 13

Amount of the waste recycle/used in companies, t 342.7 0 0

Amount of the Amount of the waste waste sold, transported for given away, t landfilling, t 815.4 299.6 6.8 513.1 701.4 118.1

While analysing the methods of textile waste management in textile and apparel companies, it can be observed (Figs 1, 2) that in textile production companies approximately 20% of waste is recycled at those companies (at 4 companies from 18 interviewed), 49% is sold to enterprises waste recycling ones or to waste shoppers and 31% is transported for landfilling. Textile waste is not recycled in apparel industry companies. 71% of textile waste from apparel companies is transported for landfilling and only 29% is sold.

To conclude, it could be maintained that from 40 textile production, apparel industry and soft furniture production companies analysed, almost 48% of textile waste is transported for landfilling. This is a significant amount (at apparel industry companies in particular), which is necessary to be reduced for increasing the amount of recyclable waste. This task could be achieved, as the analysis of the survey results shows that the enterprises with analogous kind of waste make different decisions: some of them sell the waste, whereas the others transport it for landfilling.


G. Kazakeviit, R. Ramanauskien and A. Abraitien




recycled at the enterprise sold/given freely landfilled

Fig. 1. Textile waste management in textile companies


71% sold/given freely disposed in dump site

Fig. 2.

Textile waste management in apparel industry companies


Possibilities of an Increase in the Amount of Recyclable Textile Waste

These days, the biggest textile waste recycling company in Lithuania is UAB (Private Limited Liability Company) Neaustima, which produces non-woven materials for different purposes. The company uses waste of wool, half-wool, cotton/synthetic and polyester as raw materials that originate from post-industrial waste. These are knitted and woven fabric cuttings, various thread wastes, nonwoven fabric cuttings. Over 1200 t of waste (a part of it is imported) is reprocessed over a year. Non-woven materials are produced for furniture industry, footwear production, linoleum base, geotextile materials and others. A requirement is raised that woven fabric waste for non-woven materials production should not be woven densely, as those that are woven dense fibre themselves are poorly processed on the equipment existing at the enterprise. Still the textile wastes at a number of apparel industry enterprises show themselves as rather densely woven fabric cuttings, thus more effective fibring equipment should be obtained for nonwoven materials production. Non-woven materials produced from waste or containing waste in their composition may be used for sound or thermal insulation in a construction sector, motor industry, for medical purpose items, geotextile, air filters and others. [1]. To provide different 46

properties, i.e. to manufacture greater added value products, certain chemical materials could be added into the composition of non-woven materials to provide them with reduced combustibility, antibacterial or antifungal activity, to regulate the temperature (phase changing substances), to absorb or realize odours and others. On the basis of literature sources analysis, it could be maintained that the major part of textile waste generated at Lithuanian enterprises may be used to manufacture the products of higher added value while producing the following: non-woven materials with multi functional properties applying usual processes of nonwoven materials production and adding special chemicals to obtain increased resistance to moisture, microorganisms, reduced combustibility, etc. (processing with chemicals from foam medium, by spraying or impregnating), non-woven materials containing textile waste, using an additional amount of new or waste fibre with special properties (antibacterial, with antifungal properties and others). A wide range of textile waste may be employed not only for new textile fabric production but for different technological purposes as well: for composite materials of different purposes [1, 6], wooden boards for furniture manufacturing [7], nonwoven materials for soil erosion monitoring [1, 8], plastic fillings [9], concrete reinforcement [10], power generation by mixing with coal [11] and others. All these products and textile waste utilization methods would be interesting for Lithuanian market. To conclude, it may be maintained that implementation of new equipment for waste recycling, investigation of waste usage for new product development, increase in product added value providing them with multifunctional properties would allow an increase in the post-industrial textile waste recycling level. Besides, not only post-industrial but also post-consumer textile waste, which forms the largest part of textile waste and is more complex for processing, could be recycled to some extent (especially to new non- textile products) using similar technologies and equipment. 5. 1. Conclusions The analysis of textile waste amounts generated at Lithuanian textile enterprises and enterprises that use textile fabrics for manufacturing (apparel and soft furniture production industry) has shown that textile waste in proportion to the quantity of raw materials used is generated of approximately 0.7-10% in textile enterprises, 320% in the apparel industry and 3-10% in soft furniture production enterprises. This coincides with the data from other countries provided in literature sources. Nevertheless, the reduction in production waste amounts (in apparel industry in

A Survey of Textile Waste Generated in Lithuanian Textile, Apparel and Soft Furniture Industries




particular) should be given the priority when considering a cleaner production development issue. On the basis of data from 40 Lithuanian companies the conclusion may be drawn that from 2797,1 t of generated waste even 1332,6 t, i. e., 47.6% is transported for landfilling. The waste from apparel industry and soft furniture production companies that is transported for landfilling constitutes approximately 61% of overall waste transported for landfilling; the level of waste recycling (selling) in apparel industry companies constitutes 30%, whereas in textile industry companies it reaches 69%. As the amount of waste being transported for landfilling is comparatively great, it is necessary to enlarge their recycling degree (in apparel industry in particular). On the basis of data on 40 Lithuanian enterprises, the conclusion may be drawn that the major part of textile waste consists of mixed fibre waste (40.8%) and cotton waste (36.0%). The wastes of mixed and chemical fibres are recycled with much more difficulty, whose major part is not biodegradable, therefore a research is required to be done in the sector of this waste recycling. Aiming to achieve an increase in the textile waste recycling degree, it is purposeful to introduce new equipment for waste recycling, to develop new applications of textile wastematerials, to eloborate multifunctional textile fabrics with higher added value.

5. 6.

7. 8.




The history of textiles: Textile Fiber Usage and Production, Skaidrite Reihmane, Janis Kajaks. (2006). Use of textile waste and recycled thermoplasts for composite materials processing // Proceedings of International conference Eco-Balt . May 11-12, 28 p. Helmut Hergeth. (1999). Furniture, Panels from Recycled Nonwoven Materials, NCSU College of Textiles, Project. George, Brian R., Bockarie, Anne, Bieak, Nicole, etc. (2004). Textile Products from Alternative Fibers // Proceedings of 9th Recycling of Fibrous Textile and Carpet Waste Conference). p.p. 69-70, Katori, Shigetaka, Kimura, Teruo. (1999). Compression Molding of Square Pipe using Wastes of Synthetic and Natural Fabrics // Proceedings of Recycling of Fibrous Textile and Carpet Waste Conference (9th). P. Aspiras F.F., Manalo J.R.I. (1995). Utilization of Textile Waste Cuttings as Building Material // Journal of Materials Processing Technology, Volume 48, N 1, p.p. 379-384. Campbell P.E., Mcmullan J. T., Wiliams B. C., Aumann F. (2000). Co-combustion of coal and textiles in a small-scale circulating fluidised bed boiler in Germany // Fuel processing technology. Vol. 67, N2, p.p. 115-129.

Acknowledgements The authors would like to thank the Agency for International Science and Technology Development Programmes in Lithuania for financial support in conducting research (Eureka Project E! 3503 MADETEXTIL). References
1. 2. 3. 4. Recycling in textiles. Edited by Y Wang. // Woodhead Publishing, 2006, 248 p., Europos Parlamento rezoliucija dl temins atliek perdirbimo strategijos (2006/2175(INI)). Europos Parlamentas, G. M. EI-Nouby, H. A. Azzam, S. T. Mohamed, and M. N. El-Sheikh. (2008). Textile Waste-material recycling // Pakistan Textile Journal. No 1, p. The Council of Textile and Fashion Industries of Australia, Textile Wastes to Products design Awards,

Dr. Gailut Kazakeviit a senior research fellow in the Lithuanian Textile Institute. Main research areas: special finishing of textiles, environmental aspects of textile garments and textile processing. Address: Demokratu str. 53, LT 48485, Kaunas, Lithuania Tel: +370-37-308669 Fax: +370-37-308668 E-mail: MSc Rima Ramanauskein engineer in the Lithuanian Textile Institute. Main research areas: textile finishing technologies. Address: Demokratu str. 53, LT 48485, Kaunas, Lithuania Tel: +370-37-308669 Fax: +370-37-308668 E-mail: Dr. Aura Abraitien director of Lithuanian Textile Institute. Main research areas: technologies of knitted materials, protective and interactive clothing. Address: Demokratu str. 53, LT 48485, Kaunas, Lithuania Tel: +370-37-308669 Fax: +370-37-308668 E-mail:


G. Kazakeviit, R. Ramanauskien and A. Abraitien

Lietuvos tekstils, siuvimo ir minkt bald gamybos monse susidarani atliek apvalga
Gailut Kazakeviit, Rima Ramanauskien, Aura Abraitien
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