ECONYL®

ECONYL® yarn is the main material for all the clothes we make. It is
regenerated nylon – recovered from nylon waste coming from all over the world.
One example is old fishnets coming from aquaculture and fish industry, and “ghost nets” (a constant danger to marine life). They are recovered, melted down, re-processed into new fibers, and spun to a yarn. The ECONYL® yarn is then woven with other fibers into a single fabric – which we use for all that we do. 

The fabric we use for our clothes is 78 % ECONYL® yarn and 22 % elastane (lycra). It is our absolute centerpiece: Every garment we produce is made from it. 

Why is ECONYL® yarn so great?

ECONYL® yarn has a 90 % reduced global warming impact compared to freshnylon. With our fabric being 78 % ECONYL® yarn, this means that our garments have a 90 % × 78 % = 70 % reduced global warming impact in their general makeup. 

The reduction is well-documented by Aquafil – the Italian company behind the ECONYL® brand. Every ton of ECONYL® yarn saves the planet of 7 barrels of crude oil and 6.5 tons of CO2-equivalent compared to making new nylon (and fabric) from scratch. It is a way to reuse what we already have and clean up some of humanity’s mess. 

The “equivalent” (abbreviated “eq”), means that the whole climate footprint from all sources is calculated back into a single
figure measured in CO2-weight. It is the standard (and quite sensible) way to represent emission figures. When you see a “CO2-reduction” mentioned anywhere, it is usually CO2-equivalents.  

For one of our standard styles such as the “Mira” dress, which weighs ca.239 grams, this means an avoided emission of 1.21 kg CO2-eq. 

A general, awesome thing about the ECONYL® brand is the data that surrounds it. This is what enables calculations such as those above, and it is crucial to our transparency principles. With ECONYL® yarn it is possible to reach these levels of documentation because it is a
synthetic yarn. Synthetics have complex footprints in their original production, but regenerated synthetics have a much simpler pathway in a confined process. It is a massive enabler of all the math that let us truly believe in its positive impact on climate and environment.

Where does ECONYL® nylon come from?

The waste materials used for ECONYL® yarn are collected in many countries. You can read more in the annual Aquafil Sustainability Report (2020) Nets andother waste products are sorted locally to separate the nylon which is then sent to for regeneration. The ECONYL® yarn in our garments comes from Slovenia. 

The complete 40-page report of all facets of the ECONYL® yarn and process – right down to impact of the paper tubes the yarn is spun around – can be downloaded on Aquafil’s webpage for the ECONYL® brand.

How is it made?

The ECONYL® Regeneration System consists of four parts: (1) Rescue, (2) Regenerate, (3) Remake and (4) Re-imagine. 

It
starts with rescuing waste otherwise polluting the Earth, like fishing
nets, carpet flooring and fabric scraps all over the world. That waste is then sorted and cleaned to recover all the nylon possible.

Through a radical regeneration and purification process, the nylon waste is recycled right backto its original purity. That means ECONYL®
regenerated nylon is exactly the same as fossil-based nylon. ECONYL®
regenerated nylon is processed into yarns (extrusion, spinning) for the fashion and interior industries.

ECONYL® nylon has the potential to be recycled infinitely, without ever losing its quality. 

The goal of the ECONYL® brand is that once all products containing ECONYL® fibers are no longer useful to customers, they can go back into step one
of the Regeneration System. This requires a sorting process where the fabrics are dissembled at microscopic level to separate the ECONYL®
fibers from other materials (could be elastane, polyester, cotton,
etc.).

Can everybody use it?

Aquafil maintains a strict whitelist of companies across the world that is
allowed to use ECONYL® yarn for anything. We are proud to be on that list, as
permission is only given to companies with high standards on responsibility in
terms of climate, environment and resources. 

Regular re-application is required to stay on – Aquafil permits no lapse in
standards as that would naturally ruin the whole ECONYL® brand. Visit
econyl.com and aquafil.com to learn more.

Awareness points

While
ECONYL® nylon can be regenerated infinitely, the fabric that we buy is a
mix of two materials (ECONYL® yarn and elastane). That means that true
recycling – and regeneration – of our garments requires the separation
of the two materials at the microscopic level. This is a process now
under development by Aquafil (the “post-consumer” programme), and we are
on the waiting list to be part of this system once it is operational.
This is expected in 2023-2024.

Microplastics. The waste nylon- and
plastic that ECONYL® is made from is already a massive source of
microplastic. ECONYL® yarn, on the other hand, makes for a fabric of
high technical quality, which is a limiter of microplastic emissions. In
this way, by converting waste into ECONYL® yarn and useful products, we dare make the assertion that we
stall those emissions to some degree. However, no synthetics are immune
to releasing microplastics. For garments, most are released in washing.
This is one reason we champion the biotechnological textile freshener
Pure Effect™ as a mean to cut back on laundry (and save precious water).

Aquafil
is very aware of microplastics in the context of ECONYL® nylon. It
works intensively with the research and innovation centre STIIMA CNR on a
joint project to develop a tool to accurately measure the microplastics
footprint of a product or production process. The project also aims to
achieve a globally recognized and standardized method for recognizing
and analyzing such footprints. Read more here.

Our Why

The
climate needs protection and ECONYL® regenerated nylon diminishes
global heating impact by 90 % compared to normal (fossil-based)
nylon. ECONYL® nylon can be regenerated infinitely. We want to help break
the trend of mindlessly producing new materials, with all
their heavy footprints on climate and environment. ECONYL® yarn is
generated from waste. Using it actively reduces environmental problems
on land and in our oceans, and helps preserve marine life. As a fashion
brand we want to offer transparency, and synthetic, regenerated fabrics
are exceptional in their potential to be document in full. In this
respect, they are superior to organic fibers. By relying on ECONYL®
nylon, we are able to keep our entire value chain in Europe with its
world leading environmental standards: Yarn from Slovenia/UK, fabric
from Italy, production in Romania and warehouse in Denmark.