STAND Up!: Palm saw dust is the perfect solution for the recovery of cotton waste in Tunisia

Image by USAID Tunisia

In the framework of the multiple challenges on circular and sustainable innovation for the textile and fashion sector, opened in Tunisia and launched on The Switchers Open Eco-Innovation platform Sitex, an integrated denim fabric maker based in Ksar Hellal, has opened a request for an innovative solution facing “Cotton organic waste recovery” aiming to assess the best opportunity to use this discard as an organic fertiliser or bio-fuel.

The winning proposal selected by the company with the support of STAND Up! partner CITET, is that of Aida Chaieb, market development manager for Ecopalme Gabes and a green entrepreneur with an ongoing project of handmade baskets and sustainable accessories, who envisions the valorisation of cotton waste for the production of biodegradable pots and growing mats having the final function of natural fertilisers.

The concept idea stems from the combination of the cotton waste stored by the company (causing space problem and fire risk as it gets inflamed quickly) with palm saw dust, locally present in significant quantities, as a perfect solution to create an innovative eco-friendly, sustainable and, above all, green product.

Starting with the effective characteristics of both the raw material such as strong water retention, potassium wealth, phosphorous and nitrogen-phosphorous composition and one month biodegradability of the cotton waste as well as the porous structure, the antibacterial and fungal function and the cellulose wealth of the palm sawdust, the result of the combination will lead to a material that can act as a natural fertiliser, manage water economy, and guarantee zero waste production without maintenance problems.

The entrepreneur therefore envisaged three different steps for the development of the product, starting with the study and training phase, passing through the necessary tests up to product certification and market entry.

For these purposes, within the STAND Up! eco-innovation voucher scheme, the entrepreneur will be awarded with a voucher set worth 20,000€, to implement studies, to conduct market analysis, kick-off a pilot project and strengthen the start-up’s team.

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