Amsterdam-based Fashion for Good is launching the Full Circle Textiles Project – Polyester, with the aim of validating and scaling up promising technologies in polyester chemical recycling and encouraging financing and offtake commitments from the fashion industry.
The project brings together a consortium of stakeholders including brands, innovators, supply chain partners and catalytic funders – a structure that has already proven successful in driving and scaling disruptive innovation in the industry.
Project partners include catalytic funder Laudes Foundation, brand partners adidas, Bestseller, C&A, PVH Corp., Target and Zalando, and affiliate partners Arvind W. L. Gore and Teijin Frontier.
Polyester claims 52% of the global fibre market and as the most common fibre in the world also represents a significant portion of the 73% of textiles that are landfilled or incinerated annually. Polyester does not naturally break down in the environment and the production of virgin fibres also perpetuates reliance on fossil fuels. Chemical recycling is a key solution that promises to address the polyester textile waste challenge.
“Textile recycling is a key focus for Fashion for Good,” said managing director 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.”
To attain a clear idea of the innovations best positioned to address the challenges of recycling polyester textiles, Fashion for Good has enlisted promising innovators in polyester chemical recycling from around the world to participate in the project. They include CuRe Technology, Garbo, gr3n and PerPETual, who over the course of the 18-month project will be producing chemically recycled polyester for eventual use in fabric and garment production from post-consumer textile waste.
The project aims to validate the technologies and the scaling potential prompting further implementation/offtake agreements to drive chemical recycling in the industry and mobilise more funding for the technologies.
It builds on the framework and lessons learned so far in the Full Circle Textiles Project, launched in September 2020, which focused on investigating economically viable and scalable solutions for cellulosic chemical recycling and producing new man-made cellulosic fibres and fabrics from cotton and cotton-blend textile waste.
The four selected innovators, Circ, Evrnu, Infinited Fiber Company and Renewcell, have all been able to validate their disruptive technologies and produce garments for brand partners PVH Corp. and Kering Group to their quality specifications. The next phase of this first project is focused on scaling these solutions and encouraging brands, innovators and supply chain partners to collaborate in creating long-term partnerships, catalyse funding to enable scaling, and leverage industry expertise to further develop and implement these technologies.
To further support the development of the infrastructure necessary to scale textile recycling, Fashion for Good has also initiated Sorting for Circularity and Sorting for Circularity India – industry-wide, precompetitive projects aiming m to create a greater link between textile sorters and textile recyclers and stimulate a recycling market for unwanted textiles.