Avantium, a Netherlands-based technology company specialising in advanced high-throughput R&D, says it has made a breakthrough with its PEF (polyethylene furanoate) by demonstrating that bottles made from the material can be recycled into PEF fibres.
The company, which has been developing PEF bottles with its partners, the Coca-Cola Company, Danone and ALPLA since 2011, says the fibres it has produced from recycled PEF bottles have been processed into 100 percent bio-based t-shirts, using conventional polyester processing technology and equipment.
“These first PEF T-shirts are yet another important step in the development and commercialisation of PEF as a 100 percent bio-based and recyclable material,” commented Avantium’s CEO, Tom van Aken.
The company says that the new development opens up another outlet for the recycling and reuse of the material, with end-of-life solutions for recycled PEF packaging now similar to those of PET. The company cites the introduction of shorts and shirts made from recycled petroleum-based PET bottles by Nike during the 2010 World Cup as an example of where PEF could represent “the next step in sustainability.” The shirts, worn by the national teams of Brazil, Japan, England, the Netherlands and USA, both saved petroleum-based raw materials and reduced energy consumption by an estimated 30 percent. Avantium says t-shirts made with 100 percent bio-based PEF would further reduce the dependence on petroleum, as well as decrease the carbon footprint of sportswear and apparel even more.
“The production of the first biobased PEF T-shirts produced from recycled bottles adds apparel and sportswear to the many potential outlets of PEF. With its reduced carbon footprint, and improved performance, PEF is truly the sustainable plastic material of the future,” van Aken concluded.