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Peter Majeranowski, Circ
Build a
Waste-free World
2023 Finalist


Nominated by:

US based company Circ has created a ground-breaking solution to enable the recycling of polycotton fabrics, which make up half of all textile waste.

The fashion industry diverts 92 million tonnes of textiles to incinerators or landfills each year, and less than one percent of textile waste is recycled into new clothing. The textile production process is extremely resource-intensive – for example, cotton production uses 3.3 million acres of land and six billion cubic metres of water annually, and polyester production uses 70 million barrels of oil each year.

While over-consumption and “fast fashion” remain major challenges to creating a more sustainable industry, there are also significant technical barriers that prevent the recycling of textiles and our ability to reuse them to create new clothing. One example: Textile recycling solutions have not yet been able to effectively process polycotton, a synthetic blend of cotton fibres and plastic polymers that accounts for nearly half of all textile waste. Polycotton takes around 200 years to biodegrade, and it releases chemicals like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other toxic compounds when burned in incinerators.

Circ's Solution

U.S. based company Circ, co-founded by Peter Majeranowski, has developed a revolutionary method for recycling polycotton. Circ takes polycotton and completely separates the polyester from the cotton fibres through its patented hydrothermal process, which turns polyester fibres into a liquid polymer. Preserving and separating the polyester without damaging the cotton, allows both cotton and polyester fibres to be reused in the production of new textiles, while also reducing carbon emissions substantially.

Their Impact

Every polycotton garment Circ recycles is one less piece of clothing diverted to landfill or burned in incinerators that poison the air. Circ has made huge progress, diverting 103 tonnes of textile waste from landfill back into circulation and preventing 130,000 kg of carbon dioxide emissions.

Within the next three years, the company plans to open a factory with the capacity to recycle 60,000 tonnes of textile waste annually. By 2030, Circ will have quintupled its capacity to 300,000 tonnes, helping to set the fashion industry on the path towards circularity.

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