Syre Secures $100M to Scale Eco-Friendly Textile Recycling

Stockholm, Sweden-based Syre has made a significant leap in the textile recycling industry with the announcement of a $100 million Series A funding round. The majority of this capital will be directed towards advancing textile-to-textile recycling on a massive scale, specifically targeting polyester. Launched in March of this year by H&M Group and impact investor Vargas, Syre aims to revolutionize the textile industry by moving away from virgin polyester and bottle-to-textile recycling, and towards a more sustainable, circular system.

The textile industry is notorious for its environmental impact, accounting for approximately 10% of global CO2e emissions. Despite this, less than 1% of the global textile market is composed of recycled materials; the rest ends up in landfills or incinerators. Syre’s mission is to implement textile-to-textile recycling on a global scale within a few years, demonstrating that a significant shift in the industry is not only possible but can be achieved rapidly. Emma Stjernlöf, Syre’s chief communications and people officer, emphasized the company’s goal to recycle existing polyester repeatedly, eliminating the need for new production.

Syre’s innovative approach involves a depolymerization process for waste textiles, producing BHET (Bis(2-Hydroxyethyl) terephthalate), which is then polymerized into PET (polyester). This process yields a yarn that can be used to create new fabrics and materials. The technology behind this breakthrough comes from North Carolina-based Premirr, which has spent nearly a decade developing methods to turn consumer waste into circular-system polyester. With the Series A funding, Syre has fully acquired Premirr, integrating its technology and expertise into the company.

Matthew Parrott, founder of Premirr and now R&D director at Syre, highlighted the synergy between the two entities, noting that Premirr’s technology can now be commercialized at a large scale. This merger is expected to accelerate the adoption of textile-to-textile recycling, offering a more sustainable alternative to the current bottle-to-fiber recycling methods, which are energy-intensive and produce materials that degrade over time.

Syre’s financial model and strategic partnerships are crucial to its rapid scaling ambitions. The Series A round was led by TPG Rise Climate, the climate investing arm of TPG, with participation from various industries that stand to benefit from textile-to-textile recycling, including H&M Group, Volvo, and IMAS Foundation, among others. These partnerships underscore the broad interest and potential impact of Syre’s technology across multiple sectors.

The company plans to use the $100 million funding to construct a plant in the United States, which is expected to be operational later this year. This facility, with a volume of 10,000 metric tons, will serve as a prototype for Syre’s larger gigascale plants, which will have volumes ranging from 150,000 to 250,000 metric tons. Syre aims to have 10 to 12 such plants operational by 2032, with Vietnam and Iberia shortlisted as potential locations for these gigascale facilities.

Syre’s vertically integrated regional value chains will span North America, Europe, and Asia, closing the loop from textile waste to circular polyester. The company’s customers will include polyester-heavy brands from various industries, including fashion, automotive, and interiors. While the focus is currently on polyester, which constitutes 54% of the entire textile market and 40% of its emissions, Syre’s technology is adaptable and could potentially be applied to other fibers in the future.

By championing chemical fiber-to-fiber recycling, Syre aims to set a new standard for sustainability in the textile industry. This method not only reduces the need for virgin materials but also lowers the carbon footprint of textile production and diverts waste from landfills. With its robust financial backing and innovative technology, Syre is poised to make textile-to-textile recycling a reality at hyperscale, paving the way for a more sustainable future in the textile industry.

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