Recycled polyester fibers bring a new light to the world
The development and application of recycled polyester fibers in the world are in full swing, and the market demand is rapidly expanding. Fashion brand Burlington Group has released a new generation of sustainable fabric known as ReGenesis, which is made from recycled bottles polyester yarn. The consumer market is aimed at outdoor sports enthusiasts who support environmental activities.
The ReGenesis series is a collaboration with Burlington Group, Japan’s Teijin, and Spain’s Seaqual (a Spanish company that recycles marine plastic waste to regenerate them into polyester fibers, see Fig. 1) to jointly develop the sports fabrics. They developed the sports fabrics by using a variety of innovative recycled materials, and then provide the consumer market with a more diversified choice of regenerated materials.
Burlington Technology’s Business Development Department said that at least 30% of every functional fabric in the ReGenesis series is made from recycled materials. It hopes to help consumers to choose sustainable materials through their consumption. The products are produced from environmentally friendly facilities to join-hand in reducing environmental footprint and impact.
Japan’s Teijin has already successfully developed the Eco Circle polyester recycling system (see Fig. 2). It has already realized the idea of polyester recycling and fully reused it very early, allowing full utilization of used and discarded polyester garments to be reborn. Teijin’s Eco Circle innovative method can separate or remove additives and dyes from garments, and then restore the recycled polyester to its original quality and physical properties through a purification process.
Burlington also stressed that to recover the plastic waste in the ocean, the polyester fiber produced by the Spanish Seaqual has always claimed to use 100% discarded PET bottles, and the plastic waste cleared from the Mediterranean as raw materials. Furthermore, even the sewing threads used are also made from 93~95% recycled polyester and 3~7% of marine plastic waste.
Burlington is also cooperating with American & Efird to promote ReGenesis shirts, which are made from using Burlington’s ReGenesis fabrics and A&E’s recycled functional sewing threads, hoping to produce shirts that can achieve 100% sustainability.
Unifi, a large US manufacturer of recycled polyester fibers also expressed its desire to develop innovative functional products based on its own recycled polyester fiber brand Repreve. It anticipates that its innovative functional products incorporated with new technological R&D will attract more attention from consumers. Among the functional features are thermal energy regulation, extreme cushioning, moisture absorption, wicking and other functions with significant coverage and quality.
Application of recycled materials will become a trend
Textile Exchange, organized by the global non-profit organization, announced in 2017 that there are currently 59 companies (see Fig. 3) committed to increasing the consumption volume of recycled polyester through its Recycled Polyester Working Group. The purpose is to increase the consumption volume to 25% by 2020. Among them, the international sports brand manufacturer, Adidas said in July 2018 that one of the company’s top priorities is to use sustainable polyester recycled materials. Its “ultimate goal” is that each of its products would achieve in using 100% recycled polyester materials by 2024. According to reports, 41% of the company’s 2019 spring apparel products are made from recycled polyester.
Burlington 技術業務發展部表示未來ReGenesis系列的每項機能布料都會有至少30%是由回收材質製成，希望藉此能幫助消費者，透過自身的消費選擇永續性材質製成、且在環保的設施裡製作的商品， 共同為降低環境足跡與衝擊而努力。
日本Teijin早已成功開發Eco Circle聚酯回收再生系統（參見圖2），很早即已經實現聚酯回收循環利用的理念，充分讓使用過、丟棄的聚酯服飾能重獲新生。Teijin的Eco Circle創新工法可將服飾上的添加物與染色劑分離或去除，再透過淨化工程，使回收聚酯可以恢復至最初原始的品質與物性。
Burlington亦正與American & Efird合作推廣ReGenesis襯衫，系使用了 Burlington的ReGenesis布料以及A&E的回收機能縫線製成，希望能達到可生產出100％永續性的襯衫產品。
由全球非營利性組織Textile Exchange籌組並於2017年公布，透過其再生聚酯纖維工作小組 (Recycled Polyester Working Group)目前有59個企業（參見圖3），承諾致力於增加回收聚酯的消費使用量，目標為2020年前增加 25%的使用量。其中包括國際運動品牌大廠adidas於2018年7月表示，目前公司最優先的事項之一，就是使用永續性的聚酯回收材料，其「終極目標」是在2024年前每項產品都可達到100%使用回收聚酯材料，據稱該公司2019年的春季服飾商品已有41%採用回收聚酯材料。