News | March 12, 2018

CARBIOS Announces The Development Of A New Process Enabling To Depolymerize Pet Polyester Fibers From Textile Waste

CARBIOS, pioneer company in the field of bioplasturgy, recently announces that it has taken a new step forward in the development of its enzymatic depolymerization process rending it applicable to PET polyester fibers from textile waste.

After the successful demonstration that enzymatic depolymerization applied to PET plastics enables the virtuous cycle of a return to a virgin PET, CARBIOS opens a new major market by depolymerizing 100% PET textile waste fibers into their original monomers: PTA (terephthalic acid) and MEG (mono ethylene glycol). Indeed, polyester is today the single-largest-volume fiber produced globally, taking about a 50% share of the overall fiber market[1]. The dominant type of polyester is polyethylene terephthalate most commonly known as PET. Each year, 43 million tons of PET are produced for the fiber market[2], compared to 15 million tons dedicated to the production of plastic bottles[3].

The key objective of this new process developed with CARBIOS academic partners (INRA/TWB/LISBP) and supported by ADEME Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, is to provide:

  • the recycling industry, a competitive solution to upcycle post-consumer PET polyester fabrics;
  • and the textile industry, the ability to use recycled PET fibers that can fully replace those made from fossil resources.

Thus, contributing to several environmental benefits as the reduction of waste to landfills and reduction of carbon footprint.

Most of textile waste is currently sent to landfills or incinerated and when recycling processes of textile fibers are performed, they are mainly down-cycling, which means a material of lower quality than the original is produced. As Europe and many other countries in the world are struggling to recycle mountains of waste textile, CARBIOS innovative technology will help turn this major environmental threat into a new opportunity based on circular economy principles and focused on positive society-wide benefits.

Alain MARTY, Chief Scientific Officer of CARBIOS comments: “Turning unwanted polyester textiles into high quality raw materials for new products using CARBIOS enzymatic technology is an opportunity for completely changing textile manufacturing and trade in Europe and beyond. From a sustainable perspective, our approach will significantly improve the overall life cycle impact of textile products.”

[1] Source : PCIFibres in 2015, IHS en 2014, PCIFibres in 2014 et Tecnon OrbiChem in 2014

[2] Source : Tecnon in 2013 et IHS in 2014

[3] Source : SRI Consulting in 2010, ICIS en 2009 et Samsung in 2010