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Biodegradable fleece wins Eco Performance Award

December 11th, 2017 / By: / EcoNote

Biopile fabric does not release dangerous microplas­tics,into the environment. Photo: VAUDE.

Biopile, a fleece fabric manufactured as a collaboration between outdoor manufacturer VAUDE and the Italian fabric producer Pontetorto, received the Eco Performance Award at the Performance Days trade fair for functional fabrics and sport accessories.

Knitting Industry reports that Pontetorto launched its biodegradable products in an attempt to address the environmental issue of dangerous micro plastics that contaminate waters worldwide. Microplastics end up in rivers, lakes and seas and accumulate in marine life, which is then consumed by animals higher up the food chain, including humans.

Clothing made from synthetic fibers is a source of microplastic pollution. During the washing process, fleece garments can release micro plastic particles from their brushed side. Biopile fleece does not release any dangerous microplastics. The inner, brushed side of the fabric is 100 percent Lenzing Tencel, which is  biodegradable even in marine water, according to the manufacturer.

“Should the fabric release even the smallest of Tencel particles from its brushed side during a washing process, these will decompose without residue, in any environment, in around 90 days,” the company says.

Biopile is currently available in three weight classes and is part of Pontetorto’s Ecosystem family. Initially, it will be introduced exclusively for VAUDE products.

VAUDE is a founding member of the cooperative project, TextileMission, which was launched on Sept. 1, 2017. It performs interdisciplinary research, focusing on textile technologies and the optimization of production processes to lower micro particle output. Textile researchers, together with the sportswear manufacturers involved, conduct tests to assess how environmentally friendly biodegradable fibers are. The project partners are also investigating the optimization of wastewater treatment technologies.