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Milano Unica special: Canepa’s conference on developing environmentally-sustainable patents

Innovations and advantages of SAVEtheWATER®, “metacrylamide-free” tie dyeing and “flame retardant process”

During an invitational conference at Milano Unica,  the event promoting the best textile products and accessories for high-end clothing, Canepa explained the progress which has been made in the  “SAVEtheWATER®” project, developed in collaboration with CNR ISMAC, Biella, and the results of new research linked to sustainable development and the safety and quality of its products. At the presentation the following attendees made contributions: Alfonso Saibene Canepa, Supply Chain and Sustainability Director of the Canepa Group; Roberto Castellani, Director of CanepaEvolution and SAVEtheWATER®, Canepa SpA; Riccardo Albonico Director of the Flame-Retardant Project, Roberto Tedeschi, General Manager, Italdenim; Lodovico Jucker, Technical Director Certifications Italy, Bureau Veritas, and Mauro Rossetti, Director of the Tessile e Salute Association. The presentation has been hosted by Maurizio Ribotti (marketing and communications director at Canepa SpA).

SAVEtheWATER®
In its production processes, Canepa uses a naturally-occurring, non-toxic substance which is biocompatible and biodegradable, obtained from chitin in the exoskeleton of crustaceans, enabling a reduction in the consumption of water and energy of up to 90%, also eliminating the majority of pollutants. In this way, the entire textile production process includes no polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), fixatives or bleaches. Thanks to the SAVEtheWATER® patent, in 2014, Canepa made significant overall savings of 30% for water and 25% for energy, as well as eliminating harmful chemical substances and preventing pollutants such a microplastics from being released into the environment. “It is becoming increasingly concerning to see pollutants such as microplastics and flame retardants being released into the environment – explained the Vice Director of the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences at the Polytechnic University of Le Marche, Francesco Regoli, - Industrial initiatives to replace them with more environmentally-friendly materials represent a clear example of how environmental sustainability must not be seen as an obstacle but as an opportunity for industrial innovation.”

Plastic waste is the main concern in terms of pollution, especially in the oceans.
This problem was the subject of a special feature on the TG2 news show.

LICENCES AND CERTIFICATIONS
Significant results were achieved from the first industrial application in partnership with Italdenim, after signing a licensing agreement with Canepa which encouraged the Inveruno-based company to industrialise the SAVEtheWATER® process. “Not only can we avoid using around 80 tons of PVA a year, – Italdenim General Manager Roberto Tedeschi pointed out –, but also we have been able to eliminate a number of chemical products, which would not have been possible with the traditional process. Moreover, with the SAVEtheWATER®  process, we can reduce the use of water by 60% and energy by 40%, which is great news for the environment.” Canepa subjected the entire SAVEtheWATER® production process to an examination by Bureau Veritas to obtain certification and has a close working relationship with the Associazione Tessile e Salute (Health and Textile Association), which oversees the National Observatory for textiles, clothing, leather and footwear, in order to implement a system of control for textile products sold nationwide.

METACRYLAMIDE FREE
At the Milano Unica meeting, the production process for silk ties was also presented. The patent developed in collaboration with TFA srl and Tinteco srl, enables the substance methacrylamide, which is classified as toxic and neurotoxic, to be eliminated, replacing it with a standardised and officially non-toxic substance whose biocompatible chemical composition has also been approved by the US Food and Drugs Administration.

FLAME RETARDANT PROCESS
“Furthermore, research into making our production processes sustainable and safe is not limited to developing the applications of the SAVEtheWATER process.– Supply Chain Director of the Canepa Group, Alfonso Saibene Canepa, explained – In collaboration with TFA srl and Tinteco srl, Canepa has perfected a “flame retardant process” which helps to eliminate brominated and chlorinated flame retardants. When applied to ultra-light textiles such as chiffon, crepe, georgette and organza, this process reduces the speed of combustion in accordance with US legislation. This has enabled some traditionally very important textiles to be re-introduced just as they were about to be abandoned by the fashion industry because of the problems related to the extremely strict legislation on imports adopted by USA and the Scandinavian countries.”

CERTIFYING SUSTAINABILITY: TRACEABILITY IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN
"Italian companies and industries have an excellent opportunity to improve their competitiveness – Director of Tessile e Salute Association, Mauro Rossetti, argued – and to put themselves in a unique position on the world stage. This opportunity is all to do with the word ‘sustainability’. In a market where everybody is talking about sustainability, the Made in Italy companies and industries, even if only for the strict laws in place in Europe, are already more sustainable than many others. Therefore, a rigorous certification is needed to demonstrate this, which is exactly what the Tessile e Salute Association did with Canepa, making the whole production supply chain entirely traceable and transparent, so as to show every single chemical substance used in it. We believe that this type of thorough certification is the only way to protect and promote the Made in Italy products, differentiating Italian companies from their competitors at a low cost.”

At Milano Unica, Canepa used its stand to present its environmentally-sustainable patents as well as its new collections of textiles for clothing and accessories for autumn-winter 2016/2017.

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Published on 16 September 2015

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