Fashion for Good’s latest project shines a light on polyester recycling – WWD
The writing is on the wall for polyester and its crude oil origins.
Today, Amsterdam-based innovation company Fashion for Good announced a new polyester-focused project building on findings from its Full Circle Textiles project, which officially launched in September.
âA trendy fossil-free future will require us to scale up disruptive innovations such as chemical recycling to replace polyester. We are delighted to continue to support the efforts of the industry through the Full Circles Textiles project, with chemically recycled polyester. Our funding allows actors across the supply chain to come together and test these innovative solutions, and we look forward to the results of this phase of the project, âsaid Anita Chester, materials manager at the Laudes Foundation, in a statement.
The next phase of the project focuses on scaling these solutions and encourages brands, innovators and supply chain partners to collaborate on building long-term partnerships, catalyzing funding to enable scaling up and leveraging industry expertise to develop and implement these technologies.
Brands, innovators, supply chain partners and catalytic funders are behind the project.
Many of the same financial partners, including the Laudes Foundation, Adidas, Bestseller, C&A, PVH Corp., Target and Zalando, are joining forces, as well as affiliate partners like Arvind Limited (a leading textile producer in cotton), the Fabrics division of WL Gore & Associates (manufacturer of Gore-Tex) and Teijin Frontier (which produces a range of polyester innovations).
During the 18 months of the project, a handful of “promising innovators in the chemical recycling of polyester”, including the Dutch company CuRe Technology (which has the independent bottler Coca-Cola European Partners as an investor), the Italian company Garbo, Swiss company Gr3n and PerPETual (an American company specializing in PET) will produce chemically recycled polyester for possible use in the production of fabrics and clothing from post-consumer textile waste.
The innovator’s results will be evaluated and validated by participating Fashion for Good brand and supply chain partners.
The project borrows the lessons of the first iteration of Fashion for Good, focused on cellulosic chemical recycling. Although recycling is cited as a myth of change by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Polyester Project, like the previous Cellulosic Project, aims to nurture innovators and find scalable solutions for recycling. The previous cellulosic project supported companies like Circ, Evrnu, Infinited Fiber Company, and Renewcell, many of which saw validation in the form of brand funding. Over the past year, Patagonia, Adidas, Zalando, Bestseller and H&M have all invested in “Infinna” fiber from Infinited Fiber Company, for example.
Recycling has become a bit of an obsession as fashion seeks out outlets to reduce its dependence on virgin raw materials.
A McKinsey report released last month indicated that fashion could go 80% circular “with today’s recycling technologies scaling up.” Among them, mechanical fiber-to-fiber recycling for cotton and viscose; thermomechanical recycling; cellulosic chemical recycling and synthetic chemical mono-recycling for recycling polyester, nylon and chemical mixtures.
The potential, according to the report, is that recycling technologies “have the potential to be more cost effective than using the corresponding virgin materials.”