Achieving full sustainability in textile production, care and disposal – Meryl Fabrics Director and Technical Innovator talks sustainability

Peter Clodd-Broom, Director and Technical Innovator at Meryl Fabrics, draws on his own manufacturing experience to share insight on the latest techniques in fabric to support a sustainable future.

The reality is ‘infinite recyclability’ of textiles is achievable. We all have some way to go but taking small steps will help move us along the road and a new generation of fabrics can play a role in adopting a green mindset.

At the end of their working life, garments do not need to end up like most clothing in landfill and taking up to 200 years to decompose, we have proven that they can be recycled into new items to create a ‘constant loop’ of material. This process can also save up to 3,000 litres of water for each 600m of fabric manufactured be saved, and removes the need to use chemicals and solvents during the dyeing and finishing of materials.

Our collaborative team has made it their mission to lead a radical environmental change in the materials of the textile industry, starting from a molecular quality structure to provide fully recyclable innovative yarns and fabrics with zero microplastic pollution. We are revolutionising the way we think about, use and dispose of textiles with the development of solid and durable materials that we entirely reuse, focusing on environmental impact, quality and protection, all built around a sustainable circular economy.

The environmental impact of our reusable fabrics is the most exciting aspect of what we have pioneered. Through innovative technology using hydrogen bonding, we can create strong molecular chains that seal all microfibres into the filaments. There is no release of microfibres into the air or oceans.

Zero Pollution & Water Saving Programs

The washing of synthetic textiles is a primary source of microplastics in the aquatic environment. However, all Meryl Fabrics yarn, fabrics and apparel avoid microfibre pollution. By spinning continuous quality fibres with extraordinary tenacity, we provide exceptionally high-quality yarns to the industry without polluting our air and oceans.

We have virtually eradicated all production waste at the manufacturing stage, which can be as high as 22%, by returning, weaving and cutting waste for reuse in new yarns. All colouring and treatments are applied to the filaments at the spinning stage of the yarns, completely removing the need for chemicals and solvents, typically used in the dyeing and finishing of the materials. Allowing us, in parallel, to introduce our sustainable waterless dyeing process, Meryl Ecodye, which further reduces our water waste – this part of the process alone saves 3,000 litres of water per 600m of fabric. There can be as much as 200 tonnes of water used in every tonne of material manufactured by the textile industry. Much of this water returned to nature is contaminated waste containing residual dyes and hazardous chemicals

The textile finishing industry is one of the most significant consumers and polluters of high-quality freshwater per kilo of the treated material. The term “finishing” covers all chemical additives that improve low-quality fibres’ appearance, texture, or performance. Meryl yarns are developed explicitly as performance yarns with outstanding properties, without the need for any topical chemical treatments to either the yarn, fabric, or garment. No use of silicones or softeners is needed to enhance the Meryl touch.

We wash Meryl fabrics at a lower temperature than cotton-based materials, and we have tested after 100 washes at 40˚C. Garments show no reduction in protection or appearance after frequent washing. They have a hugely reduced transport route, significantly lowering the product’s carbon footprint from its creation to the end of its life when it can be fully recycled and made into another sustainable development. We have complete control and traceability, as our engineers and logistics experts monitor all aspects of production. As our production facilities work to the detailed operation plans, Meryl Fabrics has accountability, monitoring and full audit trails.

Peter Clodd-Broom from Meryl Medical was a Keynote Speaker at the PCIAW Summit and Awards 2021

Recycling Programs

The circular economic implications constitute a significant step forward in recycling. Meryl Recycled yarn is reusing post-industrial materials to create entirely new raw materials for yarn production, and we can produce with 50% to 100% of recycled raw materials. This environmentally friendly fabric maintains its quality with all the performance and exceptional touch.

We can reuse all products at the end of their extended operational life and return them as identical replacements. To give a more detailed explanation, we re-polymerise the used fabric and reproduce the yarn for new manufacturing.

Flexibility in use is an essential aspect for us to address with our innovation, to ensure that as many people and businesses as possible benefit, and therefore the environment, will benefit from what we have done. We needed a fabric that we could use in different products designs, including workwear and bedding, even creating sewing thread to ensure the garments are fully reusable.


Continued Innovation and Application

As many companies worldwide are keen to cut their carbon footprint, our research and insight illustrate that procurement teams want to explore environmental and technologically advanced options; however, the ranges were unavailable.

The benefit to our end-user is simple; we remove the need to dispose of the textiles, as all used items returned to us are reborn. The extended operational life of these products, so it lasts longer, you wash at considerably lower temperatures, reducing energy use, so it lowers costs.