French company Carbios has used its enzymatic recycling process to recycle coloured textiles into white PET bottles.
With funding from France’s Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), it produced white PET fibre from coloured textiles using its technology, and this was then converted into PET bottles.
Around two thirds of the 90 million tonnes of PET produced globally each year are used for textiles. But only 13% of textile waste is currently recycled, and most of this is used for low quality purposes such as padding, insulators or rags.
Carbios chief executive Emmanuel Ladent said: “Thanks to our breakthrough process, it will soon be possible to manufacture, on a large scale, t-shirts or bottles using polyester textile waste as raw material.
“This is a major breakthrough that gives value to waste that currently has little or no value. It is a concrete solution that opens up a global market of 60 million tonnes per year of potential raw materials and will help to reduce the use of fossil resources.”
In November 2020, Carbios produced transparent bottles from textile waste. These have now passed food contact validation tests.