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Mikhail Konev – Enabling Textile Circularity

Mikhail Konev of Tereform is using oxygen in air to break down plastics, converting them back into their building blocks.

Tereform can transform those materials into new fibers that can be woven into new textiles, enabling full textile-to-textile recycling.


Mikhail Konev

Mikhail Konev


As Tereform's co-founder and chief technology officer, Konev is pioneering a new method to separate and depolymerize polyester plastics from postconsumer synthetic textiles and packaging to enable their full circularity.

At West Gate, he is optimizing and validating this method from bench to multi-kilogram scale, characterizing postconsumer-sourced inputs and product outputs.

In the News

Tereform–Enabling Circularity for Textiles, DOE Office of Technology Transitions

Aug. 28, 2023

H&M Foundation Names Global Change Award Winners 2023, Fashion United

June 8, 2023

The 20 Global Change Award 2023 Finalists Revealed, H&M Foundation

March 13, 2023

Critical Need

More than 75% of garments are incinerated or sent to landfills at the end of their life cycle, while less than 1% are recycled into new textiles, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Textiles are challenging to recycle due to the variety of materials within them, and they are seldom reused because there are so few recycling systems to accommodate them.

Potential Impact

A piece of plastic turns yellow and brittle over time when oxygen breaks it down. Tereform is taking that concept and accelerating it many times to break down plastics—notably, textiles—to their building blocks. This process allows Tereform to easily isolate very pure monomers, even from complex and impure input materials. By recycling polyester at scale using the Tereform process, the company aims to significantly reduce textile waste in landfills and help achieve a circular economy in the fashion industry.

Innovation and Advantages

  • Tereform's strategy of using oxygen operates well—even in the presence of challenging contaminants such as dyes, spandex, down, and other disruptors—giving it an advantage over other recycling methods.
  • Tereform aims to offer an alternative recycling option for textile materials that would otherwise be thrown in landfills or incinerated.



Bench scale


Polymer manufacturing

Potential Markets

  • Sustainable fashion brands
  • Polyester manufacturers
  • Recycling facilities

Looking For

  • Industry mentors
  • Funding
  • Strategic partnerships
  • Space (office/lab) recommendations