Meridian Specialty Yarn Group has introduced polyester yarns processed with CiCLO technology that represents a sustainable, high-performance alternative to conventional polyester for performance wear and medical personal protective equipment (PPE).
The CiCLO technology allows polyester fibers to break down in landfills and the ocean at rates comparable to a natural fiber like wool, according to Meridian. The company is initially introducing the yarns to hosiery markets for performance and hiking socks.
Yarns with CiCLO technology are also available to manufacturers of medical PPE for use making medical gowns, lab coats, medical setting curtains and other medical textiles typically made from polyester.
Meridian’s new yarns with CiCLO technology can be treated with antimicrobials proven effective at reducing exposure to viral infections and have the same wearability, durability, functionality and performance characteristics consumers expect from polyester, the company noted. At the same time, when discarded, CiCLO yarns reduce the persistence of synthetic textile accumulation in landfills and synthetic fiber fragments in the ocean.
The yarn is being processed in Meridian’s new manufacturing plant in Valdese, N.C. The facility, which opened in July, has been engineered to use significantly less water and power than comparable textile operations and generates much less effluent as a byproduct of the dyeing and drying process.
CiCLO technology is a sustainable textiles ingredient in the form of an additive that is combined with polyester and nylon during melt extrusion at the beginning of the fiber-making process. According to the company, CiCLO additive creates millions of biodegradable spots in the matrix of the plastic, where microbes that naturally exist in certain environments can break down the materials just like they do with natural fibers.
The result is a high-quality polyester yarn with the performance and PPE characteristics that brands, consumers and frontline medical professionals rely on, but with a verifiable sustainability story and reduced environmental impact.
“This represents a breakthrough for the performance apparel and hosiery industries, which have been looking for sustainable alternatives to traditional synthetic fabrics,” Tim Manson, president of Meridian, said. “Fabrics made from yarns with CiCLO technology can be treated to have the same performance characteristics as the synthetic fibers and yarns now widely used in performance apparel, including outdoor hiking and running socks.”
CiCLO technology is a product of Intrinsic Advanced Materials, which was formed to develop and commercialize innovative and sustainable solutions for the textile industry. The chemistry used to create CiCLO fibers is certified to the Eco Passport by Oeko-Tex standard. Intrinsic Advanced Materials is a member of Textile Exchange and the Outdoor Industry Association.
Meridian noted that extensive testing by reliable third-party laboratories over several years has proven that CiCLO technology fibers and yarns are effective at reducing synthetic fiber accumulation in landfills and microfiber pollution in the oceans.
The company’s new, state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Valdese offers package-dyed yarn, space-dyed yarn, top-dyed wool, yarn printing and twisting, and tow-dyeing. In addition, the new plant can dye or chemically treat virtually any fiber substrate, from cellulosic to acrylic to many aramids.
At Meridian’s novelty spinning operation in Ranlo, N.C., it produces coarse count novelty yarn from various substrates using six different yarn formation technologies. The end uses for these yarns include home furnishings, hosiery, industrial, craft and apparel.