Textile and Apparel Science

Mechanical Upcycling of Cotton Waste Using Additive Manufacturing- a Forward Step to a Circular Economy and a Sustainable Future

Author
  • Sunidhi Mehta orcid logo (West Virginia University)

Abstract

A whopping 15 million used mattresses are discarded each year by consumers in the US alone. Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) collects, sorts, and recycles about 75% of the mattress components, however, the remaining 25% majorly constitutes textile waste that ends up in landfills due to a lack of viable recycling options. In this project, we used a novel approach to upcycle the mote cotton waste from mattresses using additive manufacturing and developed a diverse portfolio of consumer products to replace single-use-and-short-lived plastic applications. Poly(Lactic) acid (PLA), a well-known industrially compostable bio-polymer was used to develop the cotton fiber-reinforced polymer composite, which was then used to make a 3D printing filament. We successfully showcased a proof-of-concept to upcycle textile waste into an array of 3D printed consumer products such as a beverage straw, spork, garment button, toothbrush handle, and dental floss pick.  

Keywords: Textile Recycling, Cotton textiles, Fiber-reinforced polymer composites, Circular economy, Textile waste

How to Cite:

Mehta, S., (2023) “Mechanical Upcycling of Cotton Waste Using Additive Manufacturing- a Forward Step to a Circular Economy and a Sustainable Future”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 80(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.31274/itaa.17059

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Published on
31 Dec 2023
Peer Reviewed