Third-party testing has proven that PrimaLoft’s polyester fibers are chemically recyclable.
The recycling process breaks down polyester to its basic components so that it can be rejuvenated into a new high-performance material, without compromising its original integrity.
“The intention of PrimaLoft® Bio was always to address the eventual end of life of a garment in an impactful way, while finding a solution for the industry-wide microplastics issue,” says PrimaLoft president and CEO Mike Joyce. “Biodegradability is an end of life solution that works in harmony with the circularity model. With the ability to renew our fibers, we are changing the conversation to circularity. Circular economies are the next frontier in sustainability and we have proven our capabilities in this space.”
Third-party testing has shown that PrimaLoft Bio fibers can be chemically recycled with a 95% yield rate. After chemical recycling, PrimaLoft Bio fibers may be reused to produce new insulation or fabric fibers, while maintaining the same level of performance.
Circularity, or a circular economy, is an economic system aimed at minimizing waste and re-capturing usable resources to be utilized within the system. This eliminates the need to introduce new natural resources, creating a closed loop. A circular economy is a more sustainable alternative to a traditional linear economy, which relies on the “take, make, dispose” model of utilizing resources.
“More than 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced worldwide, since 1950, and less than 10% of those plastics have actually been recycled,” Joyce continues. “Those numbers are alarming and PrimaLoft is working on solutions to reduce the use of oil-based virgin polyester fibers. To that end, we have been using recycled polyester fibers sourced from plastic bottles in our products since 2007. Through this traditional mechanical recycling process, new high-performance material can be created. However, this method cannot be used repeatedly without eventually sacrificing the performance characteristics of the polyester and continuing to use additional natural resources. That’s why PrimaLoft searched for new ways to close the system.”
PrimaLoft Bio fibers are made from 100% post-consumer recycled material and break down when exposed to specific environments – such as a landfill or the ocean. PrimaLoft has enhanced the fibers to be more attractive to the naturally-occurring microbes found in these environments so that they eat away at the fibers at a faster rate, returning the fabric or insulation to natural elements. Fibers will only biodegrade when exposed to these naturally-occurring microbes in landfills or bodies of water, thus, the insulation or fabric remains highly durable throughout its usable life cycle in a garment.
Biodegradable fibers provide a solution for the potential shedding of fibers throughout a garment’s usable life, as well as for garments that do end up in landfill or ocean water environments.