06 Dec 2020

Circular economy and sustainability

The present economic model of “extract, produce, waste” is already reaching the limit of its physical capacity. The circular economy is an attractive alternative that seeks to redefine the growth paradigm, emphasizing the benefits for the entire society.

The circular economy involves decoupling economic activity from the consumption of finite resources and eliminating waste from the system from design. Backed by a transition to renewable sources of energy, the circular model creates an economic, natural and social capital and is based on three principles:

-Eliminate waste and contamination from the same design.

-Keep products and materials in use.

-Regenerate natural systems.

Projects in which a circular design is applied are more innovative, minimizing their negative impacts on the environment and reinforcing the positive ones, as well as meeting the rest of the technical, economic, regulatory and operational requirements. All this, without forgetting its functionality in terms of transmitting information and raising awareness about new consumption habits and quality in the user’s experience, essential for its success.


Circular economy and sustainability

However, the data reveals that in circular economy we are very early. Currently, only 9.1% of the world economy is circular, as measured by the Circle Economy think tank in its 2019 Circularity Gap Report. The study details a roadmap to close the loop and materialize the profit of 1.8 trillion euros that the circular economy is estimated to bring with it only in the European Union.

Circular economy, sustainability and design form an equation whose result will be the improvement of productivity and competitiveness.

93% of European companies believe that the circular economy is important for the success of their business in the future and 85% plan to make investments in this model, according to data managed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD),

Moving to a circular economy is not only a business opportunity, it also contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. Although circular economy policies are diverse and rapidly emerging, understanding these new laws is complex but essential for large companies to effectively prepare their own operations for the future. Furthermore, acquiring knowledge about current and future policies on circular economy will constitute a real competitive advantage for companies.

Clint, Gribau and Elisava circular economy project

Clint, is a GIRBAU proposal towards sustainability in industrial laundry. It is estimated that Girbau’s machines wash around 25,000 tons of laundry around the world every day and it is estimated that the solid waste generated during the drying process (the waste used in the Clint project) is about 0.04% of the laundry volume that enters the machine. This means a volume of accumulated waste of about 10 tons per day.

Clint, Gribau and Elisava circular economy project


Given this reality, Girbau has become aware of the need to manage this waste generated by its machinery to minimize its environmental impact and thus favor a
sustainable drying process that will make it possible to move towards a circular economy model in the laundry sector.

Clint is a wake-up call and a demonstration of the will to transform towards circularity on all fronts of industrial laundry, even in the most neglected areas such as the solid waste generated by the activity.

In November 2018, Girbau Lab – Girbau’s innovation platform – signed a collaboration agreement with Elisava, from which students of Advanced Materials of the Degree in Industrial Design Engineering (GEDI) and and the Simultaneous (PES) were invited to develop an academic innovation project that would respond to this waste’s  environmental problem.

Clint, Gribau and Elisava circular economy project


The initiative’s objective was to design the necessary processes to transform into a resource the textile waste that remains in the filters of the industrial the
laundry processes, both from the washing machines (wet solid waste) and from the dryers (dry solid waste). Besides, the initiative proposed to the participants
to identify new uses for the materials generated.

Clint is an important step towards circular laundry and sustainability that transforms a waste into a new material and moves towards zero waste.

In this project, Girbau valued the generation of new material from the waste captured directly in the dryer filters (the lint), without the need to add any other
material, and the ease of its application in new uses, thus materializing the circularity of the proposal in the short term.

Clint, Gribau and Elisava circular economy project


It is from here that Clint is born, the new versatile, useful, and recyclable material created from the recovery of this waste, and that takes the form of cardboard,
with a high potential for applications in different areas and sectors.

The applications that the new material Clint can offer are extensive and different as they are an innovative alternative to the use of plastic materials and paper or
cardboard objects that already exist.

Besides, the management of Clint waste also mitigates the harmful effects of fabrics and their microplastics in the environment.

Clint, Gribau and Elisava circular economy project


These microplastics form a large part of the solid waste produced during the washing and drying processes. Their management and conversion into the new Clint material ensure that these do not end up in the air.

In this way, we can say that Clint mitigates the evident risks that the manipulation of microplastics generates in the environment, both in the aquatic and air environment.