SUSTAFIT is a research project carried out by Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Aalto University. Project is funded by the participating companies, the research partners, and Business Finland. The two-year project (starting 1st October 2022) is coordinated by TAMK and steered by the industry consortium.


The use of nonwovens is increasing, driven by the global megatrends, in particular the growth and ageing of population and raising standard of living. Nonwovens play major role in producing materials essential to reduce the spread of COVID-19, e.g. disinfecting wipes, face masks and personal protective materials.

Spunlaid nonwovens dominated the market of nonwovens covering over half of the total market in 2019, and the expected growth was higher compared to the overall growth of nonwovens market. However, in spunlaid nonwovens only thermoplastic polymers can be used, the technologies cannot be used to process natural fibres. This offers an extra market opportunity for dry and wetlaid technologies, in which natural and cellulose-based
materials are possible to use, to increase their market growth by partially replacing the growth of spunlaid materials and offering more sustainable alternatives to nonwoven markets.

SUSTAFIT holds the potential to support global industrial and societal goals of replacing unsustainable processes and materials with more environmentally friendly solutions. SUSTAFIT addresses sustainability of nonwovens from different perspectives in an effort to improve the aspects of quality, cost-effectiveness and range of applications, with the goal to increase the market share of sustainable nonwovens.

Goal and impact

SUSTAFIT – Sustainable fit-for-purpose nonwovens is a research project established to a need of Finnish industry to boost their competitiveness and broaden the opportunities in the versatile and growing sustainable nonwoven markets.

Echoing the words of the industry representatives, stronger networking of players comprising industry, research, analytical & demonstrations providers, as well as customers is needed. Outlining the sustainability strategies is seen as the first step to objective understanding of what sustainability increasing pathways are the most impactful.

To answer this need, SUSTAFIT project will describe application segment specific sustainability strategies. Further, the project will build understanding on the jointly identified knowledge gaps around how to expand the use of sustainable and recycled fibres from alternative renewable and sustainable feedstocks in nonwovens and how to relate the properties of the raw materials and their processing to the properties of the nonwoven products.

As one specific target SUSTAFIT will boost sustainable fibres attractiveness for nonwoven applications by developing their hydrophobicity and antimicrobial performance, the two major restricting factors for increased sustainable fiber introduction. SUSTAFIT will tackle these jointly identified research gaps through practical demonstrators and involving stakeholders to jointly assess new value chain opportunities.


The SUSTAFIT research project is funded by Business Finland,  the research partners Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK), VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Aalto University, and the participating companies.

Partners and co-operators

Several companies are partnering and cooperating in our project; Fortum, Kemira, Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto, Spinnova, Nordic Bioproducts Group, NordShield, Lixea, UPM, Valmet, Sulzer, Fiber-X, Anpap, SharpCell, Paptic, JedX Medcare, Rester and Mirka.

We will have collaboration and exchange with leading international research & development entities The Nonwovens Institute, EDANA, Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitut e.V. (STFI) and NIRI Nonwovens Innovation.

How to get involved?

Further information: Pia Hautamäki (TAMK, coordination), Antti Oksanen (VTT) and Ali Tehrani (Aalto University), please see their contact details.

Together towards sustainable nonwoven products!

We support Finnish industry to boost their competitiveness and broaden the opportunities in the versatile and growing sustainable non-woven markets.