Applied DNA makes its bed, U.S. retailers to jump in

Good source of fiber: Bedding products woven from recycled plastics -- as certified by Applied DNA's proprietary CertainT platform -- are coming to U.S. retailers in 2019.
By GREGORY ZELLER //

Inspired by Applied DNA Sciences’ molecular-tagging technology, a global textiles manufacturer is climbing into bed with the “circular economy.”

Actually, India-based GHCL Ltd. has already bedded the so-called circular economy (referencing a regenerative system in which waste and emissions are minimized by narrowing energy and material loops, mostly through recycling and manufacturing upgrades). The manufacturer is knee-deep in recycled materials, including entire linen lines formulated from recycled polyethylene terephthalate (you may know it better as PET, or the stuff your Pepsi bottle is made from).

As part of a multi-year licensing agreement GHCL and Applied DNA signed in 2017, the manufacturer earlier this year introduced Rekoop, a line of bedsheets, pillowcases and shams featuring the biotech’s CertainT molecular tagging and tracking technology.

Now, GHCL is rolling out Cirkularity, a trademarked brand covering eight different bedding lines, each trumpeting Rekoop’s reduce, reuse and recycle themes. The new bedding products are slated for U.S. distribution beginning in the first quarter of calendar 2019.

The products sold under the Cirkularity umbrella use Applied DNA’s CertainT platform to trace and authenticate post-consumer recycled PET throughout the entire supply chain, providing what the Stony Brook-based biotech called “forensic proof” of material and brand authenticity.

GHCL Home Textiles President Manu Kapur said his conglomerate was “proud” to offer customers and retailers “the highest level of trust in terms of authenticity of their products” – no minor thing, with more than $1.2 million worth of counterfeit textiles circulating through global markets annually, according to Applied DNA.

James Hayward: Living in the momentum.

Into those tricky waters sails CertainT, which keeps an eye – actually, an unforgeable DNA-based molecular tag – on the recycled thermoplastic and the products it becomes.

Rekoop creates polyesters by combining fine cotton and recycled PET bottles, with one ton of plastic (roughly 36,000 bottles) reformed into 1,000 bedsheets, or thereabouts. The bottles are shredded into small flakes that are mixed with tiny pellets carrying the CertanT molecular tags, which are inert and safe and have no measurable effect on the finished product’s performance or feel.

The mixture is then made into sustainable, traceable polyester fibers, which are mixed with cotton, spun into yarn and, eventually, processed into source-verified bedding products.

The idea is to create comfy linens while reducing landfills, crude-oil consumption and carbon emissions – a circular-economy win-win that adds a soft environmental touch to Applied DNA’s industry-leading supply-chain-authentication tech, according to President and CEO James Hayward.

“CertainT does what no other system can do,” Hayward said this week. “We can provide a unique, customized tag for every single fiber and verify them through a defined and secure supply chain through systematic sampling, testing and tracking.

“Momentum with retailers and manufacturers across a variety of textiles is growing,” the CEO added. “Rekoop bedding highlights the interest brands have in providing consumers a verifiable guarantee.”

The GHCL work is not Applied DNA’s only passage to India. Reliance Industries Ltd., India’s largest private company, is also applying the Stony Brook biotech’s molecular-based authentication solutions to fibers used in home textiles, apparel and footwear.

Reliance Industries, which integrates its high-quality Recon Green Gold fibers into the Rekoop line, is “pleased to engage in a collaboration with two premier and forward-focused entities,” according to Hemant Sharma, who heads up the company’s Polyester Sector.

And the Mumbai-based conglomerate, which boasts domestic U.S. operations in Pennsylvania, is especially happy to help close the circular-economy loop, Sharma noted.

“Textile manufacturing must change from linear to circular paradigms to ensure transparency, authenticity and sustainability,” Sharma said in a statement. “We will work closely with Applied DNA Sciences and GHCL to forge new paths to bring required changes to drive circular concept in the industry.”