Applied DNA Sciences is scaling up its CetainT traceability technology to include the authentication of recycled polyester, to help support sustainability claims as more brands move to adopt the material.

The company says its CetainT platform can provide evidence recycled product is used within a garment.

Currently, CertainT has mainly been used to authenticate cotton and polyester. The technology enables companies and their supply chains to designate a unique molecular identity tag that has meaning specific to the tagged material: for example, geographic facility location, brand, product line or even date of manufacture. 

Applied DNA says the tag can be used on or in a variety of recycled materials that includes a wide range of polymers such as PET (polyethylene terephthalate), polypropylene, polyethylene and acrylics. The tags are then tested either in the field or in the lab, depending on material type and customer requirements. Portable DNA testing devices for tagged pellets are deployed for textiles made of recycled PET and viscose. The tracking of tagged items and their test reports can be accessed by customers from the cloud-based CertainT Textile Portal.

“From 2018 ongoing, the company is working with trusted supply chain partners to build the large-scale, closed loop, integrated supply chains that use rPET filament and fibre to service businesses in Asia, the Americas and EMEA,” explains Wayne Buchen, vice president, strategic sales. “This business model is instrumental to building critical mass with our partners, enabling efficient, cost-effective, agile supply chains.

“We decided to ‘Go Big, Go Bold’ in 2019 by accelerating the implementation of rPET filament in China, Vietnam, Taiwan, India and South-East Asia. We believe the opportunity to have a molecular business solution that will protect brands from source to shelf can be achieved only with CertainT. We are in the process of building a thoroughly integrated supply chain which will close the loop and provide forensic proof through each touch point in the process.” 

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Specifically, the company has been working with Sun Chemical Supply Group since January to identify, begin integration and conduct commercial and pre-commercial manufacturing of hundreds of tons of fibre and filament with key supply chain partners that include spinners, weavers, home textile and garment assemblers, and accessories manufacturers.

Estimates by Grand View Research indicate that the global rPET market is anticipated to reach US$11.4bn by 2025. 

However, “not everyone is playing by the same rules to ensure the claim is 100% post-consumer rPET that is both high quality and low cost. Many fibre suppliers claim 100% post-consumer rPET, but those claims are based on paper certificates, and not on the product itself,” adds  MeiLin Wan, vice president, textile sales.