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 fibre-to-fibre 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.
Carbios’ biorecycling process constitutes a real 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. Carbios’ biorecycling process uses an enzyme capable of selectively extracting the polyester, recovering it to recreate a virgin fibre — 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.
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-fibre 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 and beverage industry.
“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 fibres 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 adopt game-changing circular technologies at scale. Fibre-to-fibre 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 organisation 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 fibres from one product into another. Partnering with Carbios better enables us to accomplish this goal.”