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Over the next decade, the demand for recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in textiles is expected to grow up to 30 metric tons per year. To help meet that demand, Paris energy transition technology business Technip Energies has partnered with Under Armour and IBM to launch Reju, a company focused on PET recycling.
“Globally, less than 1 percent of PET textiles waste is recycled today. This means that most textiles end up as waste in landfills when they could be repeatedly reused in new clothes,” said Arnaud Pieton, CEO, Technip Energies. “What has been holding the world back in textile circularity is not a lack of demand for textile recycling but the lack of a solution that makes recycling of textiles economical on an industrial scale.”
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Led by former Under Armour CEO Patrik Frisk, Reju will use VolCat, an IBM technology produced in partnership with Under Armour and Technip, for rejuvenating waste PET packaging and polyester on an industrial scale. The technology acts as a molecular sorter, regenerating hard-to-recycle polyester garments and PET packaging that would otherwise end up in landfills.
“We have the opportunity to establish a genuine circular ecosystem for textile recycling and invite collaboration across the entire value chain, encompassing collectors and sorters, chemical companies and the apparel industry,” Frisk said. “Through the creation of Reju, we are laying the groundwork for an ecosystem that can profoundly transform the PET textile industry, and brings us closer to a world that has moved past pollution.”
This is just the latest apparel sustainability innovation from Technip. Last year, the company collaborated with Zara party-dress partner LanzaTech and Borealis to create a springy EVA foam called CleanCloud that uses captured carbon monoxide from steel mills and other industrial sources as a raw material. The foam was incorporated in Swiss footwear maker On Running’s Cloudprime running sneaker, which the company touted as the first shoe made with carbon emissions.
Reju held a groundbreaking ceremony in September for its demonstration plant, which is located in Technip Energies’ Frankfurt Research Center. The facility is expected to come online in 2024.