Carbios, a pioneer of biological technologies for reinventing the life cycle of plastics and textiles, has signed an agreement with fashion company PVH Corp to join its fibre-to-fibre consortium founded with On, Patagonia, PUMA, and Salomon1.
Committed to accelerating the transition of the textile industry toward a circular economy. Carbios, On, Patagonia, PUMA, PVH Corp, and Salomon collaborate to test and enhance Carbios’ breakthrough biological recycling technology on their own products.
The ultimate aim is to prove fibre-to-fibre closed circularity using Carbios’ biorecycling process at an industrial scale in support of the Consortium members’ ambitious sustainability commitments. The green biotechology is based on its unique approach of combining plastics and enzymes, which are produced by microbes.
During the two-year collaboration, Carbios and its partners work together to deliver the biological recycling of polyester items at industrial scale, including thorough sorting and dismantling technologies for complex textile waste.
The existing members voted unanimously for PVH Corp. to join the Consortium, stating: “The aim of our consortium is to support the development of actionable solutions that address the fashion industry’s contribution to climate change and PVH Corp. can bring a broader perspective to the project, which is always welcome.”
Carbios has developed a unique and sustainable technology using highly selective enzymes that can recycle blended feedstocks, therefore reducing extensive sorting required by current thermomechanical recycling methods.
For mixed fibre textile materials, Carbios’ patented enzyme acts solely on the PET polyester found within. This innovative process creates recycled PET (r-PET), equivalent in quality to virgin PET, that can be used to produce new textile fibres: a major breakthrough for the textile industry.
Globally, only 13% of textile waste is currently recycled and mainly in lower quality applications such as padding, insulation or rags2. The remaining 87% is destined for landfill or incineration.
In order to work on improving textile recycling technologies, Consortium members will supply feedstock in the form of apparel, underwear, footwear and sportswear.
In 2023, a new line for textile PET waste will be operational at Carbios’ demonstration facility via the “LIFE Cycle of PET” project co-funded by the European Union. This comes in anticipation of future regulations, such as the separate collection of textile waste to be made mandatory in Europe from 1 January 2025.
To produce fibres and fabrics, today’s textile industry largely relies on non-renewable resources, and in part on recycled PET bottles for recycled polyester fibre. This resource, however, will become scarce as PET bottles will be destined exclusively to produce new bottles within the Food & Beverage Industry.
In a circular economy, the materials used to produce textiles are sourced from recycled or renewable feedstocks produced through regenerative practices. As well as supplying feedstock for the demonstrator, Consortium members aim to create new products from Carbios’ r-PET fibers produced using its biorecycling process.
“Partnering with Carbios and its consortium members demonstrates our ongoing commitment to including more circular materials in our collections,” said Esther Verburg, EVP, Sustainable Business and Innovation, Tommy Hilfiger Global and PVH Europe.
“We are excited to support the development of Carbios’ enzymatic recycling technology, leveraging new solutions that can help us to drive fashion forward for good.”
“The Carbios belief is that we can achieve more as a collective. That’s why we rally forces with our Consortiums to advance our unique technology, and ultimately switch to a more sustainable industry, benefiting citizens and the environment,” commented Emmanuel LADENT, Chief Executive Officer of Carbios.
“We are delighted to welcome PVH Corp. to join our Consortium with other prestigious brands to advance our shared vision of true circularity for the textile industry.”
Established in 2011 by Truffle Capital, Carbios is a green biotech company, developing biological and innovative processes. Through its unique approach of combining enzymes and plastics, Carbios aims to address new consumer expectations and the challenges of a broad ecological transition by taking up a major challenge of our time: plastic and textile pollution.
Carbios deconstructs any type of PET (the dominant polymer in bottles, trays, textiles made of polyester) into its basic components which can then be reused to produce new PET plastics with equivalent quality to virgin ones. This PET innovation, the first of its kind in the world, was recently recognized in a scientific paper published in Nature.
Carbios successfully started up its demonstration plant in Clermont-Ferrand in 2021. It has now taken another key step towards the industrialization of its process with the construction of a first-of-a-kind unit in partnership with Indorama Ventures.
In 2017, Carbios and L’Oréal co-founded a consortium to contribute to the industrialization of its proprietary recycling technology. Committed to developing innovative solutions for sustainable development, Nestlé Waters, PepsiCo and Suntory Beverage & Food Europe joined this consortium in April 2019.
In 2022, Carbios signed an agreement with On, Patagonia, PUMA, and Salomon, to develop solutions promoting the recyclability and circularity of their products. PVH Corp. joined this consortium in January 2023.
The Company has also developed an enzymatic biodegradation technology for PLA-based (a bio sourced polymer) single-use plastics. This technology can create a new generation of plastics that are 100% compostable at ambient temperatures, even in domestic conditions, integrating enzymes at the heart of the plastic product.