Yarn & Fiber
PrimaLoft debuts the first synthetic insulation made from 100% recycled, biodegradable fibers
In accelerated test conditions simulating a landfill environment (ASTM D5511), PrimaLoft® Bio fibers have reached near complete biodegradation in 394 days, a highly accelerated rate as compared to the negligible degradation observed in standard polyester, under the same conditions. 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.
PrimaLoft® Bio fibers break down when exposed to the right environment – such as a landfill or the ocean. PrimaLoft has enhanced the fibers to be more attractive to the naturally-occurring microbes found in these environments. The microbes eat away at the fibers at a faster rate, returning the insulation to nature. The biodegradation process leaves behind water, methane, carbon dioxide and biomass (expired microorganisms, organic waste). PrimaLoft® Bio insulation will only biodegrade when exposed to the microbes in landfills or bodies of water, thus, the insulation remains highly durable throughout its usable life cycle in a garment.
"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 a 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, the most significant global technology launch in the company's history, provides a solution at the material level, which was key for our vision."
The idea was born in 2014 when a PrimaLoft product manager said during a weekly research and development meeting, "Why can't we just make a jacket insulation that we can bury in the backyard?"
This idea struck a chord and, following that meeting, PrimaLoft put an action plan into place to develop and test the technology. Specifically, PrimaLoft conducted two years of research, took two years to develop the process and worked with an independent lab to conduct more than a year of testing.
"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, 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 is a leader in its potential conversion to energy-producing biogas during the active production lifetimes of most US landfills, and it is setting a new industry standard for synthetic insulation."
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 84.7 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. Moving forward, PrimaLoft is working diligently 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 fibers in its products.
"We want our consumers to be able to reuse and recycle their garments for many years," continued Joyce. "Yet, we know that products have a life cycle and are eventually disposed of. PrimaLoft® Bio goes hand in hand with sustainability, by providing a solution for the end of a garment's life cycle. We are the first to address this challenge in the synthetic insulation category."
*80.3% biodegradation in 394 days under ASTM D5511 conditions.