Avantium, the Dutch technology company that developed and is currently commercializing the biobased polyester known as PEF (polyethylene furanoate), announced yet another breakthrough. According to the company, it has demonstrated that PEF, like PET, can also be used to make fibers, and that, moreover, PEF bottles can be recycled into PEF fibers and subsequently processed into 100% biobased T-shirts.
So, why exactly would that be exciting news? Well, consider the following:
First, demand for textile products has been growing for years. Incredibly, annual per capita consumption has grown 53% over the past three decades, reaching 12.2 kg, in 2012, up from a mere 8 kg in the early 1980s. The fastest growth has been generated by manmade fibers: the percentage of manmade fibers among total fiber production rose from 30% in 1980, to 59% in 2012.