Issue 05 | 2021
The fibre production has more than doubled in the last two decades and manmade fibres contributed to 67.5 %
of the total fibre market production in 2014 . Among the manmade fibres, polyester, mainly polyethylene terephthalate (PET), is one of the most commonly used fibre materials and is expected to reach a market share of
EUR 185.4 billion by 2026. PET is a petroleum-based polymer and with depleting oil resources and growing concern for global warming through carbon dioxide emission, the focus is shifting towards more sustainable and biobased polyesters such as polylactic acid (PLA) . It is an eco-friendly biopolymer synthesised from renewable resources such as corn, sugar beets, and wheat. The production of PLA uses less than 0.03 % of world corn production, making it non-competitive with the food market . PLA is the first melt-processable synthetic fibre produced 100 % from renewable resources. In 2000, it was not even close to replacing petroleum-based polymers in commodity applications . Much has changed over the last two decades, demand for PLA rose leading to increased production capacities and thus lower production costs. In addition to being biobased and compostable, PLA fibres have inherently better moisture management, higher limiting oxygen index and wicking properties than PET fibres, which make them suitable for sustainable apparel applications .