COVID-19, innovations and sustainable solutions in the textile industry

COVID-19 has caused a slowdown in business activities of the Textile industry. However companies can stand by creating more sustainable textile products and implement innovations.

Cluster Development of LATIA Export is aiming to develop export to target countries and thus is seeking to apply up and coming worldwide trends, such as sustainability. Sustainability is about more than the use of organic cotton and better working conditions. The consumption of water, energy and chemicals poses challenges for textile companies at every stage of the value chain.

Challenges in the textile industry

Clothes, carpets, towels, seat covers, medical aids or more different textile forms we face on every day basis. Until a finished product is produced, it passes through several production stages and often covers thousands of kilometres.

Every step in the textile chain focuses on different aspects of sustainability, which can be summarised as follows:

• production factors, including water and energy consumption;
• the availability of sustainable raw materials;
• the effects of waste production;
• the social responsibility of the companies towards the employees and the communities surrounding the plants;
• the use of chemicals, including dyes and coatings;
• health risks for textile workers and consumers;
• animal welfare (procurement of wool or down);

Lithuanian companies implement innovative solutions

In recent years, sustainability has become a major trend in the textile industry. Consumers are better informed and increasingly expect ecologically and socially acceptable products and thus sustainable solutions in the textile industry. Manufacturers are increasingly committed to tapping innovation potential and promoting sustainable development. Sustainability strategies range from sustainable designs and the use of innovative materials and processes to the optimization of resource consumption and recycling.

With a rapid increase in COVID-19 infections in Lithuania and the world, Utenos trikotažas of the SBA Group joined efforts with the Swiss textile innovation company HeiQ and successfully applied its revolutionary HeiQ Viroblock technology to its textile manufacturing.

Kaunas UAB Garlita follows a similar path. With the Austrian raw material production base, Schoeller GmbH has released the “Fresh” technology, which provides antibacterial and antiviral properties to wool and wool blend yarns. Studies by Garlita confirm that 99% of coronavirus killed on Fresh-processed yarns is killed.

Omiteksas, UAB created material with antiviral properties which will allow to make protected clothes and masks.