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An evaluation of cotton fibre waste processing and composting alternatives: Comparison of business models, GHG emissions and commercialisation opportunities (BIDA)

Project Member(s): Bajada, C., Murray, M., Pham, H., Liang, Y., Murray, B.

Funding or Partner Organisation: Cotton RDC (Cotton Research Development Corporation)
Cotton RDC (Cotton Research Development Corporation)

Start year: 2024

Summary: As nations move towards strict GHG emissions targets, the cotton industry faces threats and opportunities related to the end of life disposal and processing of textile waste. The aim of this project is to understand and quantify GHG emissions from textile waste in landfill (‘the benchmark’) compared with alternative uses involving the processing and composting of textile waste for use in soils. Several experiments will be conducted to generate information on the relationships between inputs, outputs, processes and GHG emissions from the various recycling (return to soil) options. Critical to achieving these GHG emission reductions in the medium-to-long term is an evaluation of the commercial viability of these alternative methods of recycling and composting. In this way, this project intends to examine effective ways to close the loop on cotton fibre waste in concert with the development of appropriate commercialisation strategies that adds value to the Australian Cotton industry. Critical to the analysis will be the integration of experimental data and process modelling with economic analysis, with a view to identifying the likelihood and value of each option to the Australian cotton industry. Overall, the project will deliver on these multifaceted objectives through an engagement with cotton growers and industry participants in the current and emerging circular economy. The analysis of commercial viability and relative GHG emission savings (compared to the benchmark) from the different methods of waste processing analysed, will provide for effective alternatives that will contribute to the circular economy for cotton. This will be particularly helpful for growers, regulators, researchers and other stakeholders interested in increasing and showcasing the sustainability credentials of cotton production systems. The project will deliver information to enable growers to make decisions about participating in cotton waste returning to their farms.

FOR Codes: Environmental policy, legislation and standards, Development of recyclable or biodegradable componentry, packaging or materials , Management of greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing activities, Ecological economics, Environment and resource economics , Soil sciences, Bioprocessing, bioproduction and bioproducts, Applied economics