Electronic textiles typically refer to textiles with integrated electronics (e-textiles) that can add additional functionality to a fabric or garment. Rapid growth in this area is on-going, with substantial benefits seen in sport, medicine and healthcare. Unfortunately, e-textiles can create environmental problems at the end of the product lifetimes due to the difficulties in separating electronics from textiles. The rapidly growing market for electronic textiles makes it increasingly important to find ways in which environmental impact can be minimized. Cross-disciplinary knowledge and understanding are essential to ensure environmental considerations are taken into account during the continuing development of e-textiles. This paper introduces the context of a workshop to prompt discussion on product lifetimes of electronic textiles, and strategies for improving the sustainability of this market. The workshop will include insights from a teardown of a piece of clothing with electronic functionality, giving the opportunity to find out what is inside an electronic textile and to discuss products that are being developed. The discrepancies in lifetimes of textiles, electronics and other components will be explored, along with discussion of methods of extending product lifetimes, reuse, recycling and disposing of products.
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