Ambercycle’s mission is to end ‘waste’ in fashion. We do this by regenerating old clothing and textiles into new materials, eliminating the need to extract resources from the earth.
Ambercycle regenerates end-of-life textiles that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill or incinerated. Our goal is to enable regeneration for all textile materials.
One existing solution is bottle-to-textile recycling, where PET plastic water bottles are melted down into polyester fiber. This fiber doesn’t have existing end of life options, because the molecule degrades during melting and is mixed with other materials. Once it is in garment form, it doesn’t get recycled. This method gives PET just one extra life instead of many.
The other existing solution is mechanical garment-to-garment recycling, in which whole garments are ripped open back into fiber form. These processes can’t separate material blends, and they reduce the length of the resulting fibers, which then can’t be infinitely reused to make new garments.
Both of these methods are excellent steps for providing extra life to textiles, but they are not the final solutions.
Ambercycle technology regenerates material at the molecular level. This textile-to-textile process allows us to purify and collect polyester from textile ‘waste’, even blends. Garments produced from our materials can continuously be put back into the Ambercycle process at the end of their useful lives [which we hope will be very, very long].
This gives the polyester infinite new lives, unlocking true circularity.
Ambercycling is what we call our regeneration process, where an input of landfill-destined ‘waste’ is converted into regenerated materials. These materials are capable of being regenerated infinitely through Ambercycle systems.
We use chemistry to purify and separate blended ‘waste’ textile materials. It’s like refining ‘waste’ instead of refining oil.
End-of-life textiles are shredded and buttons, zippers, and embellishments are removed. The materials go into a series of reactors where the constituents are separated and purified. The purified materials, like cycora®, then go into downstream processing to make new fibers and yarns.
Our material is as good as virgin polymer. It is a drop-in replacement for virgin materials while providing a better life cycle and end-of-life solution.
We are actively working on producing a high-quality Life Cycle Analysis of our process, especially as we ramp up production in our plant. So far we see a significant reduction in energy use and CO2 emissions through the Ambercycle process as compared to virgin polyester production. Energy and emission savings exist both from the production of the raw material as well disposal of the finished good. For example: material that is Ambercycled is not getting landfilled or combusted into greenhouse gases.
At this time we are processing polyester-rich feedstocks, which limits the amount of waste that our process has. That being said we have partners that recycle or regenerate the cotton-cellulosic and other materials that are leftover.
Currently it is only the dye that has proven difficult to recycle. However, we partner with individuals and companies that safely burn this material for energy, and are actively looking at technologies that can improve this.
There are a number of different sources that we use to collect feedstock, from local collections, to businesses, to large government collaborations, to institutions that you normally donate your clothes to. If you can think it, we probably collect from there.
Whether diverting from North American landfills or West African burn pits, we’re always trying to intercept feedstock.
If you have consistent volumes of textile ‘waste’: certainly get in touch with us to see what is possible.
If you are an individual or a household: we are not taking collections directly from you at this time, but plan on doing so later. For now, we recommend reaching out to local textile collection services.