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France's Carbios claims fiber recycling breakthrough

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-03-14 13:55:16 – France

French recycling specialist, Carbios, has announced the validation of the CE-PET research project, which is co-funded by ADEME3 (France's Environment and Energy Management Agency) and for which Carbios is the lead partner alongside academic partner TWB4.

The accomplishment demonstrates the entire capability and breadth of Carbios' C-ZYME enzymatic recycling technology. This ground-breaking innovation enables the production of a wide range of items of comparable quality to those made from petroleum, including textiles, from any PET waste.

Every year, over 90 million tonnes of PET are manufactured worldwide, with more than two-thirds of that being utilized to make fibers. However, just 13% of textile waste is now recycled, with the majority of it being used for downcycling, or lower-quality uses (such as padding, insulators, or rags). Carbios is paving the road for the circular economy in the textile sector by successfully creating a white PET fiber that is 100% enzymatically recovered from colored textile waste at the pilot size. According to a press release from C-ZYME, the company is on the verge of industrialization and will soon enable the world's leading companies to get closer to their sustainability targets.

Emmanuel Ladent, chief executive officer of Carbios, said that with their breakthrough technology, it will soon be able to mass-produce t-shirts and bottles using polyester textile waste as a raw material on a massive scale. This is a significant innovation that adds value to garbage that has little or no worth now. It's a practical solution that opens up a global market of 60 million tonnes of potential raw materials each year and helps to limit the use of fossil resources.

It's worth noting that, starting January 1, 2025, all EU Member States will be required to collect textile trash separately, which is already the case in several countries (European Directive 2018/851 on waste). Carbios' technique will be one of the solutions that will allow this waste to be recovered and included in a truly circular economy model in a sustainable manner.

These technological validations were carried out as part of ADEME3's CE-PET research project. The project's goal was to improve Carbios' enzymatic PET recycling process on textile waste. The C-ZYME technology will be used in conjunction with thermomechanical recycling to handle plastic and textile waste deposits that are currently not or just partially recovered. Carbios was awarded €827,200 for the validation of this stage of the project (€206,800 in grants and €620,400 in repayable advances).

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