Full Circle: Aquafil Makes the Next Generation of Recycled Fabric

With its signature ECONYL® product and carpet recycling efforts, Aquafil is raising the bar for what recycled fibers can do.

Partner Content

Aquafil was a sponsor of the Metropolis Perspective: Sustainability 2019 event series. 

Courtesy ECONYL®


ECONYL® Regeneration System

Aquafil launched the ECONYL® Regeneration System in 2011. Through chemical and mechanical processes, nylon is recovered from waste materials including fishing nets and carpets and transformed into ECONYL® yarn; it’s the only commercially available nylon made of 100% waste. ECONYL® is a powerful tool for designers to create sustainable products and it can be recycled without ever losing quality. ECONYL® contributes toward LEED credits and reduces the global warming impact of nylon by up to 80% compared to material made from oil.

Courtesy ECONYL®


Healthy Seas

With the ECONYL® regeneration system came a supply chain revolution that motivated waste recovery efforts all around the world. In 2013, the Healthy Seas initiative was founded by Aquafil in partnership with a separate NGO. The organization is dedicated to recovering abandoned fishing nets from the world’s oceans with volunteer divers. The nets are then regenerated into ECONYL® yarn. Today, ECONYL® nylon is used by more than 1,000 brands in textiles, design, and fashion across the world.

Courtesy ECONYL®


Carpet Recycling

In 2018, Aquafil established the first carpet recycling facility in the US, located in Phoenix, Arizona, and plans to open a second plant next year in California. The plants disassemble discarded carpets into three main components: Nylon 6, polypropylene, and calcium carbonate. The nylon is then sent to Slovenia to be transformed into ECONYL® yarn for reuse in new carpets and fashion products. Each carpet recycling facility has the capacity to process up to 35 million pounds of carpet each year.

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