In 2021, the ICRC, UNHCR, and IFRC launched a research and development project to design a new tarpaulin with a lesser environmental impact. The objective of the project was to improve the tarpaulin design to further reduce the environmental impact of the tarpaulin distributions. This document summarizes the recommendations and findings of the research project, published by ICRC in December 2023.
Achievements in reducing the environmental impact were confirmed, with the following specifications:
- Introduction of 15% recycled PE will reduce by 8% the impact on global warming and fossil resources depletion
- Reduction of 14% of the weight will reduce by 14% the overall impact
- Extended life-time with a stronger PE material and high UV resistance can potentially reduce 50% or more of the overall impact
- Recycling at the end of life could potentially reduce up to 78% of the overall impact, thanks to the extremely durable UV resistant PE that allows collecting waste even after decades without degrading into microplastics.