Carbios has 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 to speed up 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 take-back worn polyester items, including sorting and dismantling technologies, and gather data on fiber-to-fiber recycling as well as circularity models.
The challenge the four brands share, is that their ambitious sustainable development goals can only partially be met by conventional recycling technologies which mostly target bottle-to-fiber recycling. Future regulations will require more circularity in packaging and textile. Yet the market consensus is that there will soon be a shortage of PET bottles, as they will be used for circular production methods in the Food & Beverage Industry.
Carbios’ innovative 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 is the most important fiber for the textile industry with 52 MT produced, even surpassing cotton at 23MT. The biorecycling process uses an enzyme capable of selectively extracting the polyester, recovering it to recreate a virgin fiber. This revolutionary technology makes it possible to recover the PET polyester present in all textile waste that cannot be recycled using traditional technologies.
PET plastics and fibers are used to make everyday consumer goods such as bottles, packaging and textiles. Today, most PET is produced from fossil resources, then used and discarded according to a wasteful linear model. By creating a circular economy from used plastics and fibers, Carbios’ biorecycling technology offers a sustainable and more responsible solution.
Emmanuel Ladent, Chief Executive Officer of Carbios, said, “This Consortium model has proved to be very efficient based on the success of the milestones previously achieved in packaging. We are very pleased to partner with these prestigious brands, On, Patagonia, PUMA, and Salomon. 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 decade. Our partnership with Carbios and the other consortium members is an important step towards enabling the industry to 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”.
Natalie Banakis, Materials Innovation Engineer Patagonia, adds “At Patagonia we are actively using our business to “save the Home planet”. We are excited to partner with Carbios and the textile consortium to work collaboratively to reduce waste produced by textiles. 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.”
Howard Williams, Director Global Innovation Apparel and Accessories at PUMA adds, ”As part of our Forever Better sustainability strategy, we aim to use 75% recycled polyester in our Apparel and Accessories by 2025. The partnership with Carbios and their innovative biorecycling methods offer a promising approach to reach our goals and make our industry as a whole more circular.”
Olivier Mouzin, Footwear Sustainability Manager at Salomon, concludes, ”At Salomon, we provide advanced sports solutions for all the 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, as well as Carbios, to form a new organization for advancing textile recycling that will help create a sustainable future for all Outdoor players. 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—a green chemistry leader offering a bio-recycling process that recycles apparel and footwear materials into thread for new products—better enables us to accomplish this goal.”
 Source: Market data 2019