Title : The ECONYL® Regeneration System: When waste is not the end, but the beginning
Abstract: Since 50 years, Aquafil has been one of the leading players in the production of Nylon 6 and a leader in the research of new production models for sustainable development through a regular renewal of processes.
After several years of investment in R&D and a relentless pursuit of a new way to regenerate nylon, in 2011 the Group established the ECONYL® Regeneration System, (based on) a chemical process where nylon waste such as fishing nets from the oceans and aquaculture, fabric scraps from mills and old carpets destined for landfills is transformed into brand new ECONYL® regenerated nylon.
ECONYL® is a very special product. It performs and looks exactly the same as virgin nylon from crude oil but has a very different story in terms of where it’s come from and where it’s going. It is the only recycled plastic fiber at the moment that is produced through a chemical process that can grant uncompromised quality and has the potential to be regenerated an infinite number of times.
Indeed, normally a plastic material could be recycled through “re-melting”. It can be done once, twice, three times; but whenever you re-melt plastic, you downgrade it. Thanks to Nylon 6 features and to this chemical recycling process, Aquafil is able to produce a first-grade plastic material that does not differ from the original one.
ECONYL® regenerated nylon gives you endless possibilities and today is one of the most sought-after materials in the world of fashion and design.
The project is therefore part of a very precise strategy of transforming an entire business from linear to circular, also because the Company believes this is the only way to prosper and keep up with the challenges of a rapidly changing market. Indeed, a change that goes from the classic ‘take-waste-dispose’ to ‘take waste, produce products and recover what would be destined for landfill’, so no longer using raw material from fossil sources.
In moving towards a more ‘recycled’ and circular production system Aquafil is trying to alleviate some of the impacts involved in the use of raw materials, and through production efficiencies the company is trying to reduce the use of other resources such as energy, which in turn reduces harmful emissions and other social and environmental impacts.
For any brand, big or small, adopting more responsible materials should be a priority. Equally as important is designing for longevity and circularity to ensure these items don’t end up in landfill or polluting our oceans.