By now, you are probably very much aware of fashion’s tremendous eco-footprint. Maybe, you are one of the thousands of eco-conscious consumers who are looking for earth-friendly textiles to minimize their impact. Before you slip into your favorite ecoluxe swimwear to soak yourself in the ocean waves, or opt for your new eco yogawear just in time for next week’s early morning class, let’s consider where your pieces land on the sustainability spectrum.
At KYND, we are fascinated by the potential and environmental benefits of ECONYL® regenerated nylon fabric. That’s exactly why we decided to use this earth-friendly textile for our products. What’s so special about ECONYL®? We hear you ask. Well, this textile is here to tackle 4 of the most prominent environmental issues of the fashion industry: greenhouse gas emissions, natural resource consumption, waste fabric, and marine pollution.
What is ECONYL regenerated nylon & how is it made?
Created by Aquafil, the Italian leading player in yarn production, ECONYL® is early similar to Nylon. BUT, contrary to the highly-polluting and resource-hungry Nylon, Econyl is produced using green energy and made entirely from recycled waste products. Think post-consumer waste, textile waste, industrial waste, and fishing nets from oceans.
THE REGENERATION PROCESS
From ghost fishing nets to premium nylon
According to a 2018 study published in Scientific Reports, 46% of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made of fishing nets, with the rest mostly composed of other fishing gear including ropes and baskets. To put this into context: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest collection of ocean garbage in the world, an area three times the size of France.
Also known as “ghost nets”, discarded fishing nets pose 2 major problems to the ocean:
- They are the deadliest form of marine plastic as they continue to kill indiscriminately for decades, entangling countless fish, turtles, mammals, birds, and other marine animals. It is estimated that up to 30% of decline in some fish populations is a result of discarded fishing gear.
- They are made of nylon and other chemical plastics that will take 600-800 hundreds of years to disappear, damaging critical marine habitats such as coral reefs.
That’s where Econyl really shines. The recovered ghost nets are cleaned and combined with other nylon waste materials by Aquafil before being transformed into ECONYL® regenerated nylon. You can consider it as an eco-friendly alternative to the original plastic-based garments that are currently pilled up in landfills all over the world. The manufacturing process is pretty fascinating. Once the plastic is collected, experts are then ready to shred, depolymerize, and regenerate it into nylon yarn. This new textile shares the same qualities as virgin nylon (texture, great elasticity, and durability).
Why is ECONYL sustainable?
Why is ECONYL® lauded as one of the most eco-friendly fabrics? In addition to recovering and transforming ocean plastic, ECONYL® also regenerates landfill waste such as post-consumer plastic and industrial waste.
By doing so, Aquafil is able to save around 70 thousand barrels of crude oil for every 10 thousand tonnes of ECONYL®. On top of that, when brands opt for Econyl instead of virgin Nylon, they help avert the release of over 65 thousand tonnes of Co2 emissions, reducing the global warming impact of using nylon by up to 90% compared with virgin (oil-based) nylon.