Carbios develops process to depolymerize polyester fibers from textiles

Company says its enzymatic depolymerization process results in original PTA and MEG monomers used in PET polyester.

March 13, 2018
Edited by DeAnne Toto
Europe Plastics

French company Carbios says it has further developed its enzymatic depolymerization process so it can now be used for polyester fibers from textiles.

After the company demonstrated that enzymatic depolymerization could be applied to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic, it has depolymerized 100 percent PET textile fibers into their original monomers: PTA (terephthalic acid) and MEG (monoethylene glycol).  

The key objective of this new process, developed with Carbios academic partners and supported by Ademe Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, is to provide the recycling industry with a competitive solution to upcycle postconsumer PET polyester fabrics and the textile industry the ability to use recycled PET fibers that can fully replace those made from virgin resources.

Alain Marty, chief scientific officer at Carbios, comments: "Turning unwanted polyester textiles into high-quality raw materials for new products using Carbios enzymatic technology is an opportunity for completely changing textile manufacturing and trade in Europe and beyond. From a sustainable perspective, our approach will significantly improve the overall life cycle impact of textile products."