Nonwovens / Technical Textiles
PrimaLoft shows next step in sustainable materials
PrimaLoft® Bio Insulation is the first 100% recycled, biodegradable* synthetic insulation. Standard polyester takes many lifetimes to degrade. PrimaLoft® Bio Insulation is a textile breakthrough that begins as 100% post-consumer recycled materials and, when it reaches the end of its usable life cycle, completely returns to nature. And the sustainable product range has been extended: PrimaLoft® Bio Performance Fabric joins the recently launched PrimaLoft® Bio Insulation, also the first technology of its kind. The basis of both innovations is a technically advanced fibre technology, which enhances the fibres to be more attractive to naturally-occurring microbes. This allows a highly accelerated biodegradation* under certain environmental conditions like in a landfill or in ocean water. The biodegradation process leaves behind water, methane, carbon dioxide and biomass. PrimaLoft® Bio Insulation and PrimaLoft® Bio Performance Fabric both remain highly durable throughout their usable life cycle in a garment. With this new material technologies, PrimaLoft® is redefining what sustainability means in the apparel industry. This proprietary technology does not change the performance, look or feel of the garment and is expected to be available to consumers in fall 2020.
Developed over the last four years by PrimaLoft’s team of scientists and engineers, PrimaLoft achieved this textile breakthrough without affecting the performance characteristics of the insulation or the fabric. In accelerated test conditions simulating an accelerated landfill environment (ASTM D5511) and an accelerated maritime environment (ASTM D6691), PrimaLoft® Bio fibres have reached near complete biodegradation* in 423 days, a highly accelerated rate as compared to the negligible degradation observed in standard polyester, under the same conditions. PrimaLoft® Bio fibres break down when exposed to landfill or ocean environment. PrimaLoft has enhanced the fibres to be more attractive to the naturally-occurring microbes found in these environments. The microbes eat away at the fibres at a faster rate, returning the insulation to nature.
“With PrimaLoft® Bio, PrimaLoft is leading the charge by redefining what sustainability really means,” said Mike Joyce, president and CEO of PrimaLoft. “Recycling is a good start but, we are intent on providing an even better answer to the environmental issues facing our industry. As we have been making sustainable products since 2007, PrimaLoft® Bio speaks to the heart and soul of who we are. We looked at the global issues, including the proliferation of textile waste and microplastics, and determined how PrimaLoft could make a positive impact within our core competencies – material science and polymers. This technology, one of the most significant global technology launches in the company’s history, provides a solution at the material level, which was key for our vision.”
The idea was already born in 2014 from the PrimaLoft product management. After two years of research, it took two years to develop the process and more than a year of testing with an independent lab. “PrimaLoft® Bio has the potential to transform the outdoor and fashion/lifestyle industries’ supply chain,” said Dr. Charles Lancelot, a materials technologist who worked alongside PrimaLoft during the testing process. “Over 80% of discarded textile and garment wastes were landfilled in 2014 in the US, accounting for nearly 8% of the total waste. This advanced biodegradation technology from PrimaLoft leverages progressive end-of-life material science and demands the attention of every apparel brand interested in making a smaller environmental footprint.
PrimaLoft® Bio expands upon PrimaLoft’s commitment to being relentlessly responsible, providing sustainable solutions throughout its business in order to lessen its impact on the earth. To date, PrimaLoft has saved more than 90 million plastic bottles from landfills and transformed them into premium insulation technologies. By 2020, 90% of PrimaLoft insulation products will have at least 50% post-consumer recycled (PCR) content, without compromising performance. Earlier this year, PrimaLoft introduced its first insulations with 100% post-consumer recycled material. Moving forward, PrimaLoft is working diligently and investing to reduce its footprint through the supply chain with an emphasis on finding solutions for reducing energy, carbon emission reduction, utilizing biodegradable products and incorporating natural plant-based fibres in its products.
“With premium quality, we want our consumers to be able to enjoy their garments for many years,” continued Joyce. “Yet, we know that products have a life cycle and are eventually disposed one day. PrimaLoft® Bio goes hand in hand with sustainability, by providing a solution for the end of a garment’s life cycle. We are excited to be the first to solve this problem in the synthetic insulation category.”