Carbios has signed an agreement with PVH Corp., to join its fiber-to-fiber consortium founded with On, Patagonia, PUMA, and Salomon1. Committed to accelerating the transition of the textile industry toward a circular economy. Carbios, On, Patagonia, PUMA, PVH Corp., and Salomon collaborate to test and enhance Carbios’ breakthrough biological recycling technology on their own products. The ultimate aim is to prove fiber-to-fiber closed circularity using Carbios’ biorecycling process at an industrial scale in support of the Consortium members’ ambitious sustainability commitments.
During the two-year collaboration, Carbios and its partners collaborate to deliver the biological recycling of polyester items at industrial-scale, including thorough sorting and dismantling technologies for complex textile waste. The existing members voted unanimously for PVH Corp. to join the Consortium stating : “The aim of our consortium is to support the development of actionable solutions that address the fashion industry’s contribution to climate change and PVH Corp. can bring a broader perspective to the project, which is always welcome.”
Carbios has developed a unique and sustainable technology using highly selective enzymes that can recycle blended feedstocks, therefore reducing extensive sorting required by current thermomechanical recycling methods. For mixed fiber textile materials, Carbios’ patented enzyme acts solely on the PET polyester found within. This innovative process creates recycled PET (r-PET), equivalent in quality to virgin PET, that can be used to produce new textile fibers: a major breakthrough for the textile industry.
Treatment of textile waste and recycling
Globally, only 13% of textile waste is currently recycled and mainly in lower quality applications such as padding, insulation or rags2. The remaining 87% is destined for landfill or incineration. In order to work on improving textile recycling technologies, Consortium members will supply feedstock in the form of apparel, underwear, footwear and sportswear. In 2023, a new line for textile PET waste will be operational at Carbios’ demonstration facility via notably the “LIFE Cycle of PET” project co-funded by the European Union. This comes in anticipation of future regulations, such as the separate collection of textile waste to be made mandatory in Europe from 1 January 2025.
Fiber-to-fiber : circularity of textiles
To produce fibers and fabrics, today’s textile industry largely relies on non-renewable resources, and in part on recycled PET bottles for recycled polyester fiber. This resource, however, will become scarce as PET bottles will be destined exclusively to produce new bottles within the Food & Beverage Industry. In a circular economy, the materials used to produce textiles are sourced from recycled or renewable feedstocks produced through regenerative practices. As well as supplying feedstock for the demonstrator, Consortium members aim to create new products from Carbios’ r-PET fibers produced using its biorecycling process.