Recycling alone is not enough — less than 10 percent of plastics produced globally are actually recycled and tons of plastic microfibers are released into our waterways each year (not to mention ending up in our guts). To help combat the problem, PrimaLoft decided to take on plastic waste at the material level and create not only a 100-percent recycled insulation, but one that is also biodegradable.
It took PrimaLoft’s team of scientists and engineers four years to develop PrimaLoft Bio — a synthetic insulation made from 100% recycled fibers that break down at a highly-accelerated rate in environments like landfills and oceans.
The insulation is functionally and aesthetically identical to PrimaLoft’s other synthetic insulators but biodegrades much faster. In a landfill where traditional synthetics would take centuries or longer to break down, PrimaLoft Bio will take decades.
To help the insulation degrade faster, the recycled fibers contain an additive that makes them more attractive to the naturally-occurring microbes found in landfills and oceans. These microbes eat away at the fibers at a faster rate, returning the insulation to nature. The biodegradation process leaves behind water, methane, carbon dioxide and biomass (expired microorganisms, organic waste).
You don’t have to worry about your jacket starting to break down as you wear it — PrimaLoft Bio insulation will only biodegrade when exposed to the microbes in landfills or bodies of water.
“We want our consumers to be able to reuse and recycle their garments for many years,” noted Mike Joyce, president and CEO of PrimaLoft. “Yet, we know that products have a life cycle and are eventually disposed of. PrimaLoft Bio goes hand in hand with sustainability, by providing a solution for the end of a garment’s life cycle. We are the first to address this challenge in the synthetic insulation category.”
PrimaLoft is currently working with brand partners to implement the biodegradable insulation into their product lines. Expect PrimaLoft Bio pieces to be available to consumers in the fall of 2020.