Carbios and Tomra partner to recycle and reuse polyester textiles

24 June 2024 16:33

Clermont-Ferrand/Asker - French biotech company Carbios is partnering with Norwegian Tomra Textiles, to launch a circular economy in textiles. The venture will use Carbios’ enzymatic depolymerization process at its planned facility in Longlaville to make recycled polyester, or r-PET fiber.

Textiles are one of the most common products that people produce. Yet very little is recycled, meaning that manufacturers must extract new virgin materials to make new products when the world is awash in recyclable materials. Now Clermont-Ferrand, France-based Carbios and Asker, Norway-based Tomra are working together to fix that problem.

“Carbios is taking the lead in forming an efficient value chain for textile circularity and actively engages with global industry leaders such as Tomra to shape the future of sustainable textiles,” Carbios Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel Ladent in a June 18 press release.

Creating a circular economy in polyester reduces incineration, which emits greenhouse gases that cause climate change, and dumping old textiles into landfills, which encourages manufacturers to extract virgin materials.

Under the partnership, Tomra Textiles will identify ways to prepare post-consumer polyester waste for biorecycling. Carbios uses enzymes to break down polyester fibers into basic components that can converted into new textiles. Carbios’ new plant in Longlaville in northeastern France can process around 50 kilotons per year of this waste when it ramps up to operating at full capacity next year.

"The textile industry has been optimized for cost and efficiency for centuries,” said Vibeke Krohn, who leads Tomra Textiles. “Closing the gap means scaling all the elements of a circular value chain – from collection to sorting to recycling technologies. Future recycling solutions depend on reliable access to feedstock. Through the collaboration with Carbios we hope to stimulate further investments needed to scale textile circularity.” ce/jd

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