Published 1 year ago.
About a 3 minute read.
Image: Paulo Sergio Zembruski/Pexels
After achieving a milestone in packaging recycling, Carbios’ unique biological recycling technology stands to fundamentally change the circularity of textiles.
This week, Carbios — a French company pioneering
bio-industrial solutions to vastly extend the lifecycle of plastic and textile
polymers — signed an agreement with 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 accelerating the introduction
of Carbios’ unique 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 recycle worn polyester items —
including sorting and dismantling technologies; and gather data on
fiber-to-fiber recycling, as well as circularity models.
In the past few years, Carbios has partnered with numerous consumer goods brands
to scale its innovative recycling technologies. In 2017, it joined forces with
to bring its enzymatic recycling technology to market on an industrial scale. In
2019, Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Europe joined the
and in 2021, the consortium announced the successful
of the world’s first food-grade PET plastic bottles produced entirely from
enzymatically recycled plastic.
Carbios’ biorecycling process constitutes a real technological breakthrough for
the recycling of polyester (PET) fibers — which are widely used in apparel,
footwear and sportswear — on their own or together with other fibers. PET
polyester — which is used to make everyday consumer goods such as bottles,
packaging and textiles — is the most important fiber for the textile
with 52 metric tons (MT) produced per year, even surpassing cotton at 23 MT.
Carbios’ biorecycling process uses an enzyme capable of selectively extracting
the polyester, recovering it to recreate a virgin fiber — a game-changing
technology that makes it possible to recover the PET polyester present in all
textile waste that cannot be recycled using traditional technologies.
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For the new textile initiative, the challenge the four brands share is that
their ambitious circularity goals can only partially be met through conventional
recycling technologies, which mostly target bottle-to-fiber recycling; future
regulations will require more circularity in packaging and textiles. Yet the
market consensus is that there will soon be a shortage of PET bottles, as they
will be recycled into rPET for use in the food & beverage industry.
Today, most PET is produced from fossil resources, then used and discarded
according to a conventionally wasteful linear model. By creating circular processes from used plastics and fibers, Carbios’ technology offers a sustainable
and more responsible solution — and takes the textile industry closer to being
able to seize the estimated trillion-dollar
posed by its decarbonization.
“We are very pleased to partner with these prestigious brands. This Consortium
model has proved to be very efficient, based on the success of the milestones
previously achieved in packaging,” says Carbios CEO Emmanuel Ladent. “Our
common goal is to contribute to reducing the environmental impact of the textile
industry by offering an industrial solution to recycle polyester fibers and help
our partners to meet their sustainable development goals.”
Adrianne Gilbride, Senior Sustainability Manager at On, noted: “On is
committed to becoming fully circular before the end of the
Our partnership with Carbios and the other consortium members is an important
step towards enabling the industry to adopt game-changing circular technologies
at scale. Fiber-to-fiber recycling is a key building block in closing the loop
within the textile and footwear industry.”
”At Salomon, we provide advanced sports solutions for all outdoor participants,
from the elite to the enthusiasts. Therefore, it is a natural decision for us to
join this consortium made up of clothing and footwear companies [and] Carbios to
form a new organization for advancing textile recycling that will help create a
sustainable future for all outdoor players,” says Olivier Mouzin, Footwear
Sustainability Manager at Salomon. “Our goal in joining the consortium is to
bring awareness to the end-of-life of textiles, with the ambition of
establishing true circularity within the textile industry. The companies in the
consortium aim to do this by discovering ways to recycle fibers from one product
into another. Partnering with Carbios better enables us to accomplish this
Published Jul 8, 2022 2pm EDT / 11am PDT / 7pm BST / 8pm CEST