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Consortium of brands backs Carbios

Biological technology aiming to fundamentally change the circularity of fibres.

13th July 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Clermont-Ferrand, France


Clermont-Ferrand, France-based Carbios, a pioneer in the development of enzymatic solutions dedicated to plastic and textile polymer regeneration, has signed an agreement with the well-known brands On, Patagonia, Puma, and Salomon to develop solutions that will enhance the recyclability and circularity of their products.

An important element of the two-year deal will be to speed up the introduction of Carbios biorecycling technology, which constitutes a breakthrough for the textile industry. Carbios and the four companies will also research how products can be recycled, develop solutions to take-back worn polyester items, including sorting and dismantling technologies, and gather data on fibre-to-fibre recycling as well as circularity models.

The challenge the four brands share is that their sustainable development goals can only partially be met by conventional recycling technologies which mostly target bottle-to-fibre recycling. Future regulations will require more circularity in packaging and textiles. The market consensus is that there will soon be a shortage of PET bottles which will be used for circular production methods in the food and beverage Industry.

The Carbios process constitutes a technological breakthrough for the recycling of polyester (PET) fibres,which are widely used in apparel, footwear and sportswear, on their own or together with other fibres. PET polyester is the most important fibre for the textile industry with 52 million tons now produced annually. The biorecycling process uses an enzyme capable of selectively extracting the polyester and recovering it to recreate a virgin fibre. This technology makes it possible to recover the PET polyester present in all textile waste that cannot be recycled using traditional technologies.

“This consortium model has proved to be very efficient based on the success of the milestones previously achieved in packaging,” said Emmanuel Ladent Carbios CEO. “We are very pleased to partner with these prestigious brands. Our common goal is to contribute to reducing the environmental impact of the textile industry by offering an industrial solution to recycle polyester fibres and help our partners to meet their sustainable development goals.”

“The textile waste problem is bigger than one company or solution, and Patagonia is excited to be working in a new format to solve this problem,” added Natalie Banakis, materials innovation engineer at Patagonia.

Carbios successfully started up its demonstration plant in Clermont-Ferrand in 2021. It has now taken another key step towards the industrialisation of its process with the construction of a first unit in partnership with Indorama Ventures.

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