Europe – A Finnish university and a Polish primary school emerged as the winners from this year’s European Paper Recycling Awards, announced by the European Recovered Paper Council during a ceremony at the European Parliament in mid-October.
Aalto University and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland took top honours in the technology improvement and R&D category of this year’s awards for their Ioncell-F process for turning paper for recycling and cardboard into textile fibres.
This approach ‘allows for the production of fibres of quality equal or better than those deriving from similar processes’, it is explained. ‘Their high strength also renders the fibres suitable as natural reinforcement in composite materials.’
In addition, the process makes it possible to use lignin as a natural textile dye. The Ioncell-F process is based on the use of an ionic liquid to dissolve cellulosic waste material without the addition of toxic chemicals and spin fibres for the production of textiles and garments.
‘We’re happy to see this environmentally friendly process already attracting considerable interest even though it is still in a developmental phase,’ said Michael Hummel, a postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University.
The winner of the information and education category at this year’s European Paper Recycling awards was the Literatura za Makulature initiative (Literature for Paper for Recycling), which was devised by a primary school in the Tychy region of Poland.
In order to encourage children to get involved in paper recycling, the school invited famous Polish authors to meet its pupils, paying for their participation with money raised from selling the paper for recycling brought to school by the children.