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13-Sep-2017 | 756-EN

Webinar: Sustainability and Textile Biodegradation— Understanding End of Life for Textiles

Tuesday, September 19, 12:00 PM EST

Sustainability considers the entire life cycle of an apparel or textile product including what happens to it at the end of its useful life. Is it recycled, repurposed, or thrown away? Unfortunately, most textiles end up being discarded. In fact more than 10 million tons of textiles were landfilled in 2014 in the US alone, according to the EPA. Therefore, for sustainability-minded manufacturers, brands, and retailers, it is important to know whether their products will decompose in an environmentally responsible manner. Hohenstein’s Christin Glöckner will present a webinar on textile biodegradability issues on Tuesday, September 19, at 12:00 Noon EST. Register online at

“Decisions that textile and apparel designers make can influence the potential impact discarded textiles will eventually have on the environment, such as how long they take to decompose and whether they harm living organisms when they do so,” says Glöckner, a product and process engineer at Hohenstein’s William-Küster Institute for Hygiene, Environment and Medicine.

Hohenstein has developed testing processes to assess the aerobic biodegradation in soil or the breakdown of organic matter by microorganisms when oxygen is present. Hohenstein evaluations provide an end of life profile by answering the following: First, how quickly does the textile product decompose in microbiologically active soil and second, are there any toxicological impacts to the environment as a result? For the first phase, textiles are buried and examined over time to quantify the rate of decomposition. Then the soil around the decomposing textile is evaluated to ensure biological safety using methods such as the cress test and the earthworm test. Products that meet Hohenstein’s strict criteria for both components can obtain the Hohenstein Institute Quality Label for Biodegradability, an independent, third party certification that can be used in sustainability marketing campaigns. Hohenstein’s biodegradability certification is applicable for a full range of textile products and components including fibers and yarns, fabrics, apparel, home textiles, geotextiles, and nonwovens.

Experts at Hohenstein work closely with clients to understand the relevant questions that should be answered in order to determine the best testing plan. Many choices made at the design stage can affect a textile’s environmental impact at the end of its useful life. These choices include fiber and component selections, finishing specifications, and testing for harmful substances before the textile product ever goes to market.

For more information about the webinar, contact Trish Martin at

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