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Polyester recycling pilot scales up

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The latest stage in research to develop promising technologies in polyester chemical recycling for the fashion industry has been launched by Fashion for Good (FfG).

Its ‘Full Circle Textiles Project – Polyester’ builds on the initial Full Circle Textiles project launched by FfG in September 2020. Participants see chemical recycling as crucial to delivering economically viable and scalable solutions for cellulosic chemical recycling and to produce new man-made cellulosic fibres and eventually garments from cotton and cotton-blend textile waste (as cotton is 90-95% cellulose).

Polyester claims 52% of the global fibre market. As the most common fibre in the world, it also represents a significant portion of the 73% of textiles that are landfilled or incinerated annually.

FfG is a global platform for innovation uniting brands, producers, retailers, suppliers, non-profit organisations, innovators and funders. Four innovators in polyester chemical recycling, CuRe Technology, Garbo, gr3n and PerPETual, will produce polyester for eventual use in fabric and garment production from post-consumer textile waste. Four others, Circ, Evrnu, Infinited Fiber Company and Renewcell, have used similar material to produce garments for brand partners PVH and Kering Group to their quality specifications.

The next phase of the project over the next 18 months focuses on scaling these solutions. It is hoped brands, innovators and supply chain partners will collaborate in creating long-term partnerships, drive funding and leverage industry expertise to further develop and implement these technologies.

‘Textile recycling is a key focus for FfG,’ says managing Katrin Ley. ‘With the success of the first Full Circle Textiles Project, and proof that a galvanised consortium of stakeholders from across the industry can truly shift the needle, we can now turn our attention to applying these learnings and steps to scale to another critical area: textile-to-textile polyester recycling.’

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