Polyester is possibly the world’s favorite fiber when it comes to manufacturing performance wear and other apparel. Polyester is durable, can be engineered to provide multiple performance characteristics, wears well, is in good supply and designers love it. But polyester and other synthetic fibers can also contribute to land and ocean pollution. That is about to change.
Meridian Specialty Yarn Group, Inc. (MSYG) is now offering polyester yarns processed with CiCLO® technology, which allows polyester fibers to break down in landfills and the ocean at rates comparable to a natural fiber like wool.
MSYG is currently introducing yarns with CiCLO® technology to hosiery markets, initially for performance and hiking socks. Yarns with CiCLO® technology are also available to manufacturers of medical PPE for use making medical gowns, lab coats, medical setting curtains and other medical textiles typically made from polyester.
Meridian’s new yarns with CiCLO® technology can be treated with antimicrobials proven effective at reducing exposure to viral infections and have the same beauty, wear-ability, durability, functionality, and performance characteristics consumers expect from polyester. At the same time, when thrown away, CiCLO® yarns reduce the persistence of synthetic textile accumulation in landfills and synthetic fiber fragments in the ocean.
The yarn is being processed in the United States in MSYG’s new manufacturing plant in Valdese, North Carolina. The facility, which opened in July 2019, is the most modern and up-to-date dyehouse in the US and equal to, or better than, any other yarn dyeing operation worldwide.
The plant has been engineered to use dramatically less water and power than comparable textile operations and generates much less effluent as a byproduct of the dyeing and drying process.
The result is a high quality polyester yarn with all of the performance and PPE characteristics brands, consumers and front line medical professionals rely on — but with a verifiable sustainability story and reduced environmental impact.
“This represents a breakthrough for the performance apparel and hosiery industries, which have been looking for sustainable alternatives to traditional synthetic fabrics,” said Tim Manson, president of MSYG. “Fabrics made from yarns with CiCLO® technology can be treated to have the same performance characteristics as the synthetic fibers and yarns now widely used in performance apparel, including outdoor hiking and running socks.”
CiCLO® technology is a product of Intrinsic Advanced Materials, which was formed to develop and commercialize innovative and sustainable solutions for the textile industry. Their team is made up of scientists, engineers and textile industry veterans who are outdoor enthusiasts and feel passionately about protecting the planet.
The chemistry used to create CiCLO® fibers is ECO PASSPORT by OEKO-TEX certified, and Intrinsic Advanced Materials is a member of both the Textile Exchange and the Outdoor Industry Association. Extensive testing by reliable third party laboratories over several years has proven that CiCLO® technology fibers and yarns are effective at reducing synthetic fiber accumulation in landfills and microfiber pollution in the oceans.