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Textile Exchange Report: The Future of Synthetics

Debrand is honored to have worked alongside Textile Exchange to provide support with key areas in this report. The Future of Synthetics is calling on the fashion, apparel, and textile industry to shift away from new fossil fuel extraction for synthetic materials and is offering guidance on how to approach new systems of sustainability. In order to meet climate targets and cut greenhouse gas emissions, the industry needs to stop bringing new virgin fossil fuel-derived materials into the supply chain.

This report advocates for increased investment in technologies that facilitate the substitution of fossil fuel-derived synthetics. Having viable alternatives available is crucial for the industry to realistically make this shift, offering an opportunity to significantly reduce emissions. 

A few key takeaways:

  • Synthetic materials, particularly polyester, have dominated global fiber production since the mid-1990s, contributing to high levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

  • A total shift away from synthetics could lead to overreliance on natural ecosystems, so a dual approach is encouraged. This approach involves investing in alternative ways to create synthetic materials using recycled or sustainably sourced renewable feedstocks, while also reducing the volume of new materials produced overall.

  • Mechanical recycling of PET plastic bottles is common but scaling textile-to-textile recycling technologies is essential for a closed-loop system.

  • The report also explores biosynthetics and carbon capture technologies as opportunities for brands to shift away from fossil fuel extraction.

Read the full report:

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