When your bedding and towels have reached the end of their life, what do you do with them? Send them to the landfill? Donate them? If they were made with polyester or nylon, they would have shed plastic microfibers into the environment throughout their lifetime and will continue to do so in a landfill. Certainly, the life of all bedding and towels cannot be extended. I have written about Pürlin’s Zero Laundry—Zero Waste Linens before. These linens are recycled after each use. No guest uses the same linen.
At HD Expo in May I learned about CiCLO™, a textile additive from Intrinsic Advanced Materials, LLC. CiCLO is a safe solution that accelerates the breakdown of polyester and nylon fibers in the environment, leaving behind only basic natural elements. I recently interviewed Andrea Ferris, CEO of Intrinsic Advanced Materials and Co-Inventor of CiCLO technology, to learn more about CiCLO.
“CiCLO technology can be added to polyester and nylon, which are the main components of various fabrics used within the hospitality industry,” Ferris says. “Polyester and nylon are highly durable plastics used in everything from bedding to towels to window and shower curtains to pillows and more. If it’s a textile that needs to be high performance and durable, it’s a fit for CiCLO polyester or nylon.”
A Natural Biodegradable Accelerant
Ferris says many hospitality items are laundered in bulk every day, and almost all fabrics shed small fibers during the process, contributing to the 2.2 million tons of microfibers that enter the ocean every year. In filled products like pillows and comforters CiCLO acts as a natural biodegradable accelerant for polyester filling materials.
CiCLO is combined with polyester and nylon during melt extrusion at the very beginning of the fiber-making process. The CiCLO additive creates countless biodegradable pathways in the matrix of the plastic, enabling microbes that naturally exist in environments where microfibers are prolific pollutants (wastewater treatment plants, soil, landfill, sea water) to break down the materials just like they do with natural fibers. CiCLO fibers may be blended with cotton, wool, spandex or other material.
According to Intrinsic Advanced Materials, it only sells CiCLO additive to its global network of certified fiber and yarn manufacturers. Third-party testing has confirmed CiCLO’s effectiveness.
“We expect to see tremendous growth with hotels worldwide,” Ferris says.
The Blue Ridge Hotel Textiles Connection
Tim Keegan, Senior Vice President of Blue Ridge Hotel Textiles, said his company first began working with the CiCLO team about eight months ago. “We have a line of down alternative products in product development testing right now,” he says. “Our timeline is to introduce QA-tested product that stands up to the rigors of hotel use and commercial laundering sometime later this year. We use only all cotton fabrics currently in our hotel lines but will be evaluating CiCLO poly/cotton blends soon.” Blue Ridge Hotel Textiles’ parent company, Blue Ridge Home Fashions, has also developed products using CiCLO that will be introduced soon.
“Blue Ridge Hotel Textiles will be moving toward all CiCLO products for down alternatives as our products are developed and tested,” Keegan adds. “Because of the profound positive impact CiCLO has on the environment, married up with our sustainability objectives, partnering with new technology material developers, our hotel division is all-in with CiCLO. Over time we believe all Blue Ridge Hotel Textiles down alternative products will use CiCLO material.”
The lodging industry is not the first to try CiCLO. “CiCLO was introduced to the apparel industry in 2018 and is moving into the home area now, with Blue Ridge Hotel Textiles partnering in product development, QA testing and hotel guest trials,” Keegan says. “Apparel and accessory brands with public adoptions to CiCLO today include Oakley, Billabong, Aeropostale and Nordstrom handbags. McDonald’s Corporation has added CiCLO to many of their apparel items including aprons.”
‘A Real Game Changer’
What has industry reaction been to CiCLO so far? Keegan says the hotel brands his company has talked to are very excited about CiCLO technology as a real game changer and its applicability to all down alternative filled product on the bed. “There will not be many hotel sourcing executives not interested in CiCLO,” he says.
Biodegradation accelerants have been popping up in our industry for years now. We have seen similar additives available for plastics used for amenity bottles—EcoPure comes to mind.
Purchasing dynamics are changing. The time is now to consider product end of life when purchasing anything for your hotel—especially items such as bedding and towels that are such a highly consumable items.
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