Two relevant textile supply companies just announced new technologies to enhance and speed up the biodegradability of textiles in the landfill.

British industrial thread company Coats has developed a biodegradable thread, EcoRegen, to support its customers’ sustainability agendas. The new sewing thread is made from 100 percent Lyocell, a renewable fiber derived from wood pulp, sourced from sustainably managed forests. The fiber is fully biodegradable and compostable due to its cellulosic origin and is suitable for a wide range of apparel applications to accommodate multiple customer needs. Coats also gave a glimpse of new products which will be launched soon: EcoCycle is a range of water dissolvable thread that facilitates garment recycling and end-to-end circularity; Eco-B is a recycled polyester thread incorporating an additive that reduces synthetic fiber accumulation in landfills and microfiber pollution in oceans.

Delivering the matching fabric to those threads, Boulder, Colorado-based textile specialist Cocona introduced a new additive to its 37.5 thermoregulation technology that allows 37.5 fiber to biodegrade at enhanced rates once placed in landfill conditions. The treatment is permanently embedded at the fiber level and addresses the fact that only a few end-of-life recycling options for fabrics are available to date. In the U.S., only 15 percent of textile waste is being recycled. Textiles make up 8 percent of all landfill waste – almost 32 kg per U.S. resident/year. According to Cocona Labs, the new 37.5 additive enhances the ability of microorganisms already present in landfills to bind to and break down the fibers, speeding up the natural degradation process. Under special laboratory conditions, the treated fiber decomposes almost completely within two years; under real conditions, degradation is calculated to occur within a few decades, whereas standard polyester sits in a landfill unchanged for centuries.