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Syre is on a mission to decarbonize the textile industry

EcoNote | March 11, 2024 | By:

Swedish textile impact company Syre has launched an initiative to decarbonize and eliminate waste in the textile industry through textile-to-textile recycling at hyperscale, starting with polyester. Initiated by Swedish investment firm Vargas, and fashion and design company H&M Group, Syre is supported by an industry supply agreement with H&M Group. Syre will establish multiple production plants producing circular polyester across the globe, reducing CO2e emissions by up to 85 percent, compared to the production of oil-based virgin polyester.

“Syre marks the start of the great textile shift. We envision a world where every textile fiber sees a new day. By implementing true textile-to-textile recycling at hyperscale, we want to drive the transition from a linear to a circular value chain by putting textile waste to use, over and over again,” says Dennis Nobelius, CEO of Syre.

Textile waste is a growing global challenge, with less than 1 percent of the global textile fiber market coming from recycled textiles. The textile industry today accounts for 7-10 percent of global CO2e emissions, with polyester being the biggest emitter and fastest growing fiber. 

Virgin polyester, made from crude oil in refineries, and bottle-to-fiber recycled polyester (rPET), are both linear meaning the majority of all end-of-life products currently end up in landfills or being incinerated. The textile industry is now at a tipping point as the European Union and other actors are introducing legislation that will regulate waste and accelerate demand for circular materials.

“Syre will be key in enabling delivery on ambitious sustainability targets for all polyester intense industries such as apparel, automotive and home interior,” says Susanna Campbell, chair of the board and co-founder of Syre.

H&M Group has secured an offtake agreement with Syre worth a total of $600 million over 7 years, covering a significant share of H&M Group’s long-term need for recycled polyester, which is currently primarily sourced from bottle-to-fiber (rPET).

“The new venture Syre is an important next step on H&M Group’s journey to integrate circularity across our business. With this solution to rapidly scale textile-to-textile recycling, we want to continue to drive and inspire more industry players to join us in closing the loop and accelerating the shift towards a more sustainable future”, says Daniel Ervér, CEO of H&M Group.

Within ten years, Syre aspires to have 12 gigascale plants up and running at full capacity worldwide, producing more than 3 million metric tons of circular polyester. The could expand into other fibers and technologies in the future.

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