MIDWOR-LIFE project reaches its end but partners will continue to work towards a more sustainable textile industry

On August 31st, the European project MIDWOR-LIFE completed its cycle and reached its official ending. The project, which focused on the study and evaluation of safer and greener alternatives for durable water and oil repellents (DWOR) used in the textile finishing industry, was ongoing since September 2015 and it had a duration of 3 years.

The project has arisen a lot of attention to high-level stakeholders, which have been engaged in different ways during the project, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Textile and Apparel Confederation (EURATEX).

The major project outcomes have been the technical and environmental assessments of different alternative DWORs versus conventional ones. At environmental level, the results from the life cycle assessment (LCA) revealed that conventional fluorinated products have a negative impact in the range of 10 to 40 times larger than fluorine-free alternative products. On the technical level, alternative products achieved a water repellency matching the performance of conventional fluorinated products; however, its performance against oil did not reach any acceptable level. This fact raises the need to establish an equilibrium and to rationalise the requirements at the design stage to find a balance between environmental impact and technical properties according to the final application of the treated textile material.