We’re creating Biodegradable Polyester with Kintra Fibers, here’s how.
What if polyester was made out of plants and seamlessly biodegraded into the Earth when you were done with it? We're joining forces with materials science company Kintra Fibers to help eliminate microplastic pollution.
The problem with synthetic fibers
Did you know washing clothes releases half a million tonnes of microplastics into the ocean each year? That’s equivalent to over 50 billion plastic bottles. Currently, over 60% of global textile fibers are synthetic materials. The microfibers they shed are toxic to wildlife and the environment. They also take hundreds of years to decompose and contribute to the 80% of marine pollution which comes from land-based activities. Today, recycled plastic bottles (rPET) are the current industry standard for polyester fibers, however these still contribute to microplastic pollution.
Why should we care about microplastic pollution?
Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic, less than 5mm long (around the size of a pea), which can harm ocean and aquatic life. They come from many sources, from larger plastic debris that breaks down into smaller pieces to the microplastics that can be released into the waterways when you wash your clothes. These tiny particles are transmitted through water filtration systems and end up in the ocean and lakes, threatening ocean life. (Source)
100% bio-based and biodegradable polyester made from plants.
By partnering with Kintra Fibers who make high-performance, bio-based and compostable yarns formulated to keep our oceans microfiber-free. Our mission is to improve and pioneer industry standards for synthetic materials by helping to scale Kintra’s resin and yarn process through our supply chain and develop first-of-its-kind compostable fabric blends and apparel. The material will be available to additional brand partners. Read more on Forbes, FastCompany and Business Insider.
How does the new Kintra material work?
Kintra’s fibers are a form of polyester called polybutylene succinate (PBS) which is biodegradable and compostable, currently derived from corn instead of fossil fuels. The material we are developing together “will be 100% bio-based and traced to corn and wheat primary feedstocks,” explained Kintra Co-founder and CEO, Billy McCall. A Textile Exchange survey of 170 fashion brands (2019) found that only 8% knew their polyester supply chain to the chemical supplier level, and none have made this information public. However, polyester represents around 52% of the global fiber market. The new Kintra material offers brands the opportunity to set a new standard of transparency in the synthetic material supply chain.
“We are committed to bring visibility to an opaque part of the supply chain to help brands build a better, more sustainable future [...]. We’re thrilled to work with PANGAIA, a brand [...] committed to revolutionizing raw materials [seen] through their track record of working with eco-friendly innovations and processes.”
— Alissa Baier-Lentz, Co-Founder and COO at Kintra Fibers
The benefits of biodegradable polyester
The new Kintra material is a solution to the problematic overuse of traditional, petroleum-based and non-biodegradable synthetic fabrics that contribute to microplastic pollution. The Kintra resin and yarns can be seamlessly integrated into existing synthetic manufacturing and textile production supply chains at a competitive price point, providing a scalable and cost-effective sustainable alternative to synthetics such as PET, rPET, or nylon.
An investment in the future of our planet
PANGAIA invested alongside Tech Council Ventures, which focuses on science and technology companies, and FAB Ventures, which invests in the sustainable fashion and beauty sector and is founded by Odile Roujol, former CEO of Lancôme. Kintra joins PANGAIA as a long-term innovation partner in the textile value chain, with the vision to bring new materials and science to the forefront of the fashion and textile industries.