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Industry Talk

Beyond Bottles at Performance Days

Potential shortage of recycled PET as a raw material for textile fibres to be explored in detail in Munich.

4th March 2024

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Munich


The focus topic of the forthcoming Performance Days spring fair in Munich from March 20-21 will be ‘Beyond Bottles’, examining the need for alternatives to current feedstocks for PET recycling in response to upcoming legal regulations.

Solutions will include an increase in textile-to-textile recycling, along with polyester alternatives from food waste and the increased deployment of natural fibres.

“PET bottles have been the most popular and most widely used source of PET for fibres in the apparel industry and have not only been available in large quantities worldwide, but through mechanical recycling can be reused as raw materials for all clothing industry products,” explains Charles Ross of the Performance Days Trends Jury. “This, however, is all about to change. Recently adopted EU regulations on recycling for the plastics industry aim to increase the use of waste beverage bottles in the plastics recycling process, which in turn will lead to a potential shortage of recycled PET as a raw material for textile fibres.”

By 2027, the European Commission is expected to introduce minimum quotas for the use of recycled plastic components in new bottles. These quotas will be mandatory for the plastics processing industry and are likely to be between 15 and 30 per cent. The introduction of such quotas will lead to the plastics processing industry having to adapt its production in order to use more recycled plastics.

“As a result, the demand for high-quality recycled plastic will increase significantly and since high-quality plastic is already currently in very short supply, the increase in demand could lead to a significant rise in prices,” Ross said.

The EU Green Deal and the New York Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act are aligned with the principles of the circular economy, based on preserving the original product for as long as possible and eliminating waste and harmful chemicals from production processes.

Measures will include the promotion of eco-design, increased diligence, the introduction of digital product IDs and the development of new business models.

The feasibility of textile-to-textile recycling is still being explored and challenges include mixed fibres and questionable chemicals contained in collected waste. In the sorting process, the extended use of automation will be unavoidable.

For this year’s Trend Forum at Performance Days, a jury of experts has identified and will display a number of materials that could represent alternatives to conventional bottle recycling in the future.

Among them are new developments in the field of membranes, fibres from both mechanical and chemical recycling, bio-based materials, materials from bio-plastics and textiles derived from carbon capture.

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