New project from Adidas, PVH, C&A, Zalando and Bestseller

Fashion for Good researches chemical polyester recycling

Polyester is a huge environmental problem. Fashion for Good is now researching innovative recycling methods.
Polyester is a huge environmental problem. Fashion for Good is now researching innovative recycling methods.

Fashion for Good is launching its next circular research project: this time, the aim is to validate and scale promising technologies in chemical polyester recycling.

This text was originally published in German and machine-translated into English.

Because: According to the initiative, polyester claims 52% of the global fibre market. As such, it also accounts for a significant proportion of textiles disposed of or incinerated each year. However, as the petroleum-based fibre is not biodegradable, chemical recycling is a key solution to manage the volumes of polyester textile waste, it says

The Full Circle Textiles Project - Polyester brings together diverse stakeholders including brands, innovators, supply chain partners and funders - a structure that has proven successful in driving and scaling disruptive innovation in the industry, Fashion for Good says.

Also on board are the Laudes Foundation and C&A, Adidas, Bestseller, PVH, Target, Zalando, as well as Arvind Limited, the fabrics division of W. L. Gore & Associates, and Teijin Frontier Europe, which recently joined Fashion for Good.

To get a clear idea of the innovations that would be the best fit, Fashion for Good has recruited promising chemical polyester recycling companies from around the world to join the project. These include CuRe Technology, Garbo, Gr3n and PerPETual, which will recycle polyester from textile waste over the course of 18 months for later use in fabric and apparel production. The results will be evaluated by participating brand and supply chain partners. Chemical processes could recycle virgin-quality textile waste and process a wider range of textile types, offering huge potential to close the loop, Fashion for Good said.

The new project builds on the Full Circle Textiles Project, launched in September 2020, which sought commercially viable and scalable solutions for the chemical recycling of cellulose and the production of new synthetic cellulose fibres from cotton and cotton blend waste. The four innovators selected at the time, Circ, EVRNU, Infinited Fiber Company and Renewcell, were able to validate their technologies and produce garments for brand partners PVH and Kering to their quality specifications. The next phase of the project will focus on scaling these solutions.