Insulation giant PrimaLoft has developed a 100% recycled and biodegradable fabric called PrimaLoft Bio which can be used either to produce insulation or the fabric surrounding it and works just as well as normal equivalents.
In simple terms, you’ll be able to sling your expensive PrimaLoft insulated jacket on the tip without worrying that its synthetic fibres will hang around for countless centuries causing environmental damage in the process. Currently approximately 80% of textile and garment waste in the US ends up as landfill and comprises no less than 8% of the total waste.
The polyester fabric took some four years to develop and is, says PrimaLoft, a world first. In tests, samples made from the fabric in a landfill environment reached a state of ‘near complete biodegradation’ in 394 days or just over one year. By contrast, normal polyester showed ‘negligible degradation’ over the same time period.
How does it work? The new fabric has been engineered to make it more attractive to naturally occurring microbes found in anaerobic, landfill environments. Yum, say the microbes and eat away at the fabric at an accelerated rate reducing it to water, methane, carbon dioxide and biomass. Garments made using Bio fabrics and insulation fills will essentially work just the same as current versions and won’t disintegrate in use when, say, exposed to the sweat generate toiling up the Snowdon Ranger path.
The new fabric will be used in garments from autumn 2020 and is a key part of PrimaLoft’s ongoing commitment to sustainability. It already has a 100% post-consumer recycled insulation fill launched early in 2018 and has, so far, it says, saved some 84.7 million bottles from landfill and turned them into insulation. It’s also, it says, committed to reducing its environmental footprint more widely through ‘an emphasis on finding solutions for reducing energy, carbon emission reduction, utilising biodegradable products and incorporating natural plant-based fibres in its products’.
As with the recent development of Polartec’s lower-shedding fleece alternatives, it’s great to see outdoor fabric suppliers innovating to help reduce environmental damage.