February 8, 2019 A Better Answer
PrimaLoft® sets sustainability forward by introducing PrimaLoft® Bio™ Insulation and PrimaLoft® Bio™ Performance Fabric, each made from the first-ever 100% recycled, biodegradable* synthetic fiber.
It’s a breakthrough in textile sustainability. The advanced material technology experts at US-based PrimaLoft® are the first to provide a proper solution for the end of a garment’s life. The recently launched PrimaLoft® Bio™ products begin as 100% post-consumer recycled materials and, when they reach the end of their usable life cycle, return to nature – the first technology of its kind.
The basis is a technically advanced fiber technology, which enhances the fiber to be more attractive to naturally-occurring microbes. This allows for highly accelerated biodegradation* under certain environmental conditions, like in a landfill or in ocean water. In the end, the biodegradation process leaves behind natural elements: water, methane, carbon dioxide and biomass.
No change in performance
But don’t worry; your garments will not start to break down while you wear them. PrimaLoft® Bio™ Insulation and PrimaLoft® Bio™ Performance Fabric both remain highly durable throughout their usable life cycle in a garment. This proprietary technology does not change the performance, look or feel of the garment. The first products from brands are expected to be available to consumers in fall 2020.
4 years of development
Nobody can change the world in one day. The idea for this textile breakthrough was first introduced in 2014. But it took the PrimaLoft® team of scientists and engineers two years of research to crack the code of biodegradation, another two years to develop the process and more than a year of testing with an independent lab to make sure that the performance of the fibers remain on the same high level.
In accelerated test conditions simulating a landfill environment (ASTM D5511) and a maritime environment (ASTM D6691), PrimaLoft® Bio™ fibers have reached near complete biodegradation* in a little over one year – a highly accelerated rate as compared to the negligible degradation observed in standard polyester under the same conditions.
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.
“Recycling is a good start, but…”
Mike Joyce, president and CEO of PrimaLoft®, about the intention of PrimaLoft® Bio™:
“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.”
As a result, PrimaLoft® Bio™ helps to solve the growing problem of microplastics littering the ocean, a significant issue for the textile and other industries. It is estimated that half a million tons of plastic microfibers shed during the washing of plastic-based textiles such as polyester, nylon, or acrylic end up in the ocean every year, according to research from The Ellen Macarthur Foundation.
PrimaLoft® Bio™ expands upon Prima-Loft®’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 content, without compromising performance.
Earlier in 2018, 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, and many more.
*84.9% biodegradation in 457 days under ASTM D5511 conditions; 56.1% biodegradation in 441 days under ASTM D6691 conditions.