University of the Arts London
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BFTT Work Package 5: A Systemic Material Innovation Study of the Current State and Future Possibilities for Circular Polyester

posted on 2023-06-27, 12:10 authored by Rosie HornbuckleRosie Hornbuckle, Kate Goldsworthy

This dataset comprises 18 interviews with 20 individuals considered to be stakeholders in the circular polyester eco-system and experts in terms of their expereince of working with circular polyester at different points in the life cycle.

These interviews were conducted as part of an investigation into the barriers to, and opportunities for, achieving Circular Synthetics. Research was funded by Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology Creative Research & Development Partnership (BFTT CRDP—£5.5 million) led by the University of the Arts London, part of the UK Creative Industries Clusters Programme (CICP) funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, and delivered by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) on behalf of UK Research and Innovation.

To achieve a systemic perspective on the area of investigation researchers co-created an eco-system map from three different perspectives: a sportwear brand (SME), a textile recycling trade organisation, and a regenerative recycler. This provided a techno-economic view of the circular polyester eco-system in the UK, which was needed to meet the overarching goal of supporting SMEs in their transition. This map was used to identify potential research participants. Based on this map participants were selected from the researchers’ own networks and those of the existing participants. This initial selection ‘snowballed’ into a final selection of 20 ‘industry experts’ who each participated in a semi-structured interview around one hour in length. In addition to questions, the interviewer used three canvases to take notes as a way of probing and guiding reflection. The aim was to explore participants’ day-to-day encounters with polyester textiles while pursing circular systems, processes, materials and products. This was an important feature of the research, that the real situation being observed by people working in close proximity to polyester would be revealed and challenge common assumptions. During the interviews, researchers probed participants’ perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in circular polyester. Participants also took part in mapping life cycles for polyester sports garments, identifying key points on a roadmap to circular synthetics and co-creating a definition for circular synthetics. 

An analysis was published in Sustainability [see related materials]


The Business of Fashion, Textiles and Technology Collaborative R&D Partnership

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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