Updated: Sep 22
Econyl is the innovative material that we use to make our solid colour leggings and sports bras. The Italian company behind this great product, Aquafil, have been regenerating nylon waste into their Econyl yarn for more than a decade.
What is ECONYL®?
ECONYL® is a sustainable nylon 6 yarn, created exclusively using regenerated materials including fabric and carpet scraps, industrial plastic, landfill waste and fishing nets.
Nylon in its traditional form is a synthetic textile made from petroleum-based polymers. It is used in a huge range of applications including the fashion industry. Global nylon production keeps increasing, with a catastrophic environmental impact.
The fashion industry is one of the biggest contributors to global warming and plastic pollution, partially due to a lack of innovation in fabric technology. Only a small portion of the resources used by the textile and clothing industries are renewable. And very few fashion brands use recycled materials in their production.
Nylon, unlike some other synthetic materials, can be recycled infinitely without having to use new resources. ECONYL® regenerated yarn is as strong, durable and flexible as the first time it is spun into nylon.
How is ECONYL® produced?
ECONYL® regenerated yarn is produced in a closed-loop process that doesn’t require any chemicals.
Discarded nylon materials are collected and sorted
Waste nylon materials are broken down into monomers with steam, following this, the nylon monomers are transformed into polymers through a process called condensation polymerisation. This process forms big molecules which are then shredded into chips.
The chips are further processed into fibres, by a heated mechanical spinneret, which has tiny holes through which the melted nylon chips are extruded.
These extruded filament fibres are then spun into yarn, which fabric producers can then weave into materials that can be cut and sewn into clothing.
The Benefits of using ECONYL®
By using ECONYL® regenerated fibre based fabrics, the global warming potential of the garments is reduced by 90%. Additionally, for every 10,000 tons of ECONYL® raw material, 70,000 barrels of crude oil are saved, and 57,100 tons of CO2 equivalent emissions are avoided.
But where does all the nylon waste come from?
Aquafil sorts waste nylon products in their dedicated recycling plants in Slovenia, Italy, and the USA. The waste that makes up the ECONYL® precursor material consists of a mixture of carpet and fabric waste, industrial plastic and fishing nets.
Healthy Seas is an organisation which supports and coordinates groups of volunteer specialist divers as they recover ghost fishing nets around the world. It is estimated that 640,000 nets are lost every year. Healthy seas gathers these nets, and transports them to the Aquafil recycling plants to be regenerated into brand new yarn.