Patagonia and Puma are part of a two-year deal aiming to accelerate the introduction of Carbios’ biorecycling technology, with plans to research how products can be recycled, develop solutions to take back worn polyester items – including sorting and dismantling technologies – and gather data on fibre-to-fibre recycling as well as circularity models.

Carbios says the challenge the four brands share is that their ambitious sustainable development goals can only partially be met by conventional recycling technologies which mostly target bottle-to-fibre recycling. Yet the market consensus is that there will soon be a shortage of PET bottles, as they will be used for circular production methods in the food and beverage industry, it adds.

The firm’s biorecycling process uses an enzyme capable of selectively extracting the polyester, recovering it to recreate a virgin fibre, making it possible to recover the PET polyester present in all textile waste that cannot be recycled using traditional technologies.

Today, most PET is produced from fossil resources, then used and discarded according to a wasteful linear model, Carbios explains, adding by creating a circular economy from used plastics and fibres, its biorecycling technology offers a sustainable and more responsible solution.

“This consortium model has proved to be very efficient based on the success of the milestones previously achieved in packaging. We are very pleased to partner with these prestigious brands, On, Patagonia, Puma, and Salomon. Our common goal is to contribute to reducing the environmental impact of the textile industry by offering an industrial solution to recycle polyester fibers and help our partners to meet their sustainable development goals,” says Emmanuel Ladent, Carbios CEO.

Natalie Banakis, materials innovation engineer Patagonia, adds: “At Patagonia, we are actively using our business to “save the Home planet”. We are excited to partner with Carbios and the textile consortium to work collaboratively to reduce waste produced by textiles. The textile waste problem is bigger than one company or solution, and Patagonia is excited to be working in a new format to solve this problem.”

Howard Williams, director global innovation apparel and accessories at Puma, notes the partnership with Carbios offers a “promising approach” to reach its goals and make the industry as a whole more circular.

Outdoor clothing brand Patagonia recently partnered with creative textile platform Makers Unite to open a new repair centre in Amsterdam, offering clothing repairs for affiliated brands and their customers in a move aimed at diverting some 1m kilos of textile waste.