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January 30, 2019

Polartec portfolio goes biodegradable

US fabric maker Polartec has committed to using 100% recycled and biodegradable materials across its entire product line.

By Beth Wright

US fabric maker Polartec has committed to using 100% recycled and biodegradable materials across its entire product line.

The firm’s Eco-Engineering initiative sees it partner with US yarn manufacturer Unifi and Intrinsic Advanced Materials, a joint venture between Parkdale Advanced Materials, the innovative fibres and yarns division of yarn maker Parkdale Mills and Intrinsic Textiles Group. 

The collaboration combines Intrinsic Advanced Materials’ CiCLO technology with yarn products from Unifi to promote biodegradation of polyester and nylon, as well as applications in polyurethane, in seawater and landfill conditions. The goal is to create the world’s first fully recycled and biodegradable fleeces and breathable waterproof membranes, as well as other knits and insulation fills.

“By collaborating with the best in the business, Polartec is committing to the pursuit of a future where everything is eco-engineered to use recycled inputs and to be biodegradable,” says Polartec CEO Gary Smith. “This is the culmination of over 25 years of Polartec investment and innovation.”

Polartec says it created the very first performance fabrics made from post-consumer recycled plastics in 1993 and began collaborating with Unifi in 2006.

“We are proud to be a part of progressive collaborations that seek to find solutions, through textile innovation, for some of the world’s most significant challenges,” adds Unifi CEO Kevin Hall. “By working with leaders from our industry, we strive to create innovative products that are synergistic with key technologies like recycling. We look forward to this journey towards developing biodegradable materials and for more industry partners to join the sustainable pathway.”

Andrea Ferris, Intrinsic Advanced Materials CEO, adds: “After years of R&D to create a solution for biodegradability, we’re thrilled to partner with the inventor of technical fleece and leader in performance knits to bring CiCLO to market as part of Polartec Eco-Engineering.”

The collaboration is an extension of Polartec Eco-Engineering, the process by which Polartec deploys recycled inputs, advanced production techniques, highly efficient logistics, and rigorous testing and certifications to create an innovation pipeline devoted to producing sustainable fabrics with elite performance characteristics. This includes Oeko-Tex and Bluesign certifications across all Polartec facilities worldwide.

The Polartec Eco-Engineering effort seeks to set a new, higher ‘triple bottom line’ standard for the textile industry: fully recycled inputs, fully recyclable fabrics, and complete biodegradability.

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