RECYCLED POLYESTER ROUND TABLE
RECYCLED POLYESTER ROUND TABLE
About the recycled polyester round table
Textile Exchange’s Recycled Polyester (rPET) Round Table (previously called the rPET Working Group) is a global multi-stakeholder network aiming to increase the uptake of recycled polyester.
The rPET Round Table is led by Elayne Masterson of Fabrikology and currently has over 90 individual members from 56 companies/organizations. Members meet virtually every month, with an additional in-person meeting each Spring and a Round Table Summit each Fall.
The 2019 rPET Round Table Summit will take place during Textile Exchange’s 2019 Textile Sustainability Conference. More details coming soon!
At the start of 2019, the rPET Round Table formed four Working Groups to dive deeper on particular areas. The groups are categorized key groups of players in the supply chain that it is trying to influence:
First in-person meeting, held during Textile Exchange’s Hamburg conference.
rPET Commitment Launched
2017 rPET Round Table, Washington DC
First mid-year in-person meeting, held alongside Copenhagen Fashion Summit
rPET Commitment Reached (25% goal exceeded by 11% two years early)
2018 rPET Round Table Summit, Milan, Italy
Working Groups formed
2019 rPET Round Table Summit, Vancouver BC
rPET COMMITMENT UPDATE
In 2017, we created a Recycled Polyester Commitment to encourage brands and retailers to publicly commit to accelerating their use of recycled polyester by 25% by 2020. We are delighted to report that the aggregate target was reached two years early, in 2018, when the combined rPET use of the commitment signatories grew by 36%.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2018 rPET ROUND TABLE IN MILAN
More than 100 stakeholders with different expertise and backgrounds including suppliers, brands and researchers participated in the Recycled Polyester Round Table Summit at Textile Exchange’s Textile Sustainability Conference in Milan on October 22, 2018, which was kindly sponsored by NSF. The meeting was hosted by Fabrikology’s Karla Magruder, previous Chair of Textile Exchange’s rPET Round Table (since succeeded by Fabrikology’s Elayne Masterson), with support from Sevilla Granger of Textile Exchange.
Susan Mair and Matt Tudball of ICIS presented some of the latest figures:
- 70 million tons global PET capacity
- 66% goes to fiber – 57 million tons
- By 2030 20% will be rPET
- China has 69% of PET capacity
- China ban – increased virgin and move to other Asian countries
Maurizio Crippa, CEO of Gr3n, presented on rPET in bottles:
- 5% of global PET is recycled
- Textiles create 33 MT of textile waste and recycles < 0.1 MT
- Packaging creates 23 MT of packaging waste and recycles 9 MT
- Packaging companies are making large commitments, there’s not enough material to meet commitments.
- Packaging companies have partnered with new chemical recycling technologies
Katy Stevens, Sustainability Project Manager at the European Outdoor Group, showcased the Outdoor Microfiber Consortium.
- An industry response to actively understand the problem of microfibre shedding and develop industry based solutions.
- This collaborative, brand driven approach encourages more in depth research projects, and facilitates greater levels of understanding and solution building than would be achievable alone.
Look out for the report out of project results at ISPO.
rpet Round Table: Where we need to go…2030
- Clear bottles
- rPET mandatory % product content
- Preferential tariffs
- Standardize chip quality
- GRS use as baseline
Brands & Retailers
- Support new technologies
- Match performance to products
- Cross industry collaborations
- Campaigns to support multi-sector use
- Youth education
Textile Exchange wants to thank again our 2018 rPET Round Table sponsor NSF, as well as all participants.
We very much look forward to continuing these discussions.
Team work and collaboration are key in bringing initiatives like this to their full potential and we are always looking for partners for the rPET Round Table. For details of how to support the work of our rPET Round Table in 2019, please see page 9 of our 2019 Conference Participation Guide:
If you are interested in partnering one of this year’s Round Table meetings, please contact Lisa@TextileExchange.org and we will be happy to send you some more information on the opportunities available.
Why a recycled polyester round table?
Polyester is a manmade fiber, synthesized from petrochemical products by a process called polymerization. With 49% of the global fiber production, polyester is the most widely used fiber in the apparel sector: more than 63,000 million tonnes of polyester fiber are produced annually. Production of polyester fabric involves significant quantities of chemicals, raw materials and by-products that are toxic and can pollute water and air and cause health issues.
Recycled polyester is promoted by Textile Exchange as a preferred fiber. It can be either mechanically or chemically recycled, with feedstock consisting of either pre- or post-consumer waste that can no longer be used for its intended purpose. This includes returns of materials from the distribution chain.
There is more to do to reach economies of scale. Challenges are still to be overcome in the factory, the marketplace, and in communities where recycling and bring-back schemes need to start.
Textile Exchange’s Recycled Polyester Round Table aims to transform business – move from linear to circular, and to find solutions to technical, societal, and commercial barriers to growth.
If you are interested in joining this Round Table or attending a future annual meeting, please contact Materials@TextileExchange.org.
★ Using more recycled polyester reduces our dependence on petroleum as the raw material for our fabric needs.
★ Diverting PET bottles for this process reduces landfill, and thus reduces soil contamination and air and water pollution and requires less energy than virgin polyester.
★ Garments created from recycled polyester aim to be continuously recycled with no degradation of quality, allowing us to minimize wastage. This means polyester garment manufacture could potentially become a closed loop system.
★ Solving quality issues through contaminations of various additives like antioxidants, pigments, stabilizers or anti blocking agent and shortening of the polymer chain at de-polymerization stage.
★ Finding substitutions for antimony, a polyester catalyst known to be cancer causing (potentially 500mg/kg PET).
★ Ensuring constant industrial feedstock and closing the loop by fostering feedstock from textile pre- and post consumer waste.
★ Achieving traceability and transparency in the collecting, sorting and processing with social and fair conditions.
★ Looking at lifecycle considerations: biodegradability and recyclability of polymers.
★ Outreaches to other synthetic polymers: What are the future polymers?
★ Transition towards renewable biogenic feedstock turning into technological fibers.