Aquafil and Speedo work on closed-loop swimwear
The Econyl Regeneration System turns old fishing nets into new raw nylon for swimsuits
Italian fibre company Aquafil has joined forces with swimwear brand Speedo USA on what they claim to be the swimwear sector's first fabric take-back programme, which will see leftover fabric scraps upcycled into raw nylon for new "revolutionary" swimsuits.
Until now, post-production fabric waste from the swimwear industry has not been suitable for traditional recycling due to its complex technical composition.
However, Aquafil's new technology can turn swimwear fabric and other blended waste materials into new raw nylon. The Econyl Regeneration System takes manufacturing by-product waste and nylon materials that have reached the end of their life – such as abandoned fishing nets and old carpets – and re-engineers them into Econyl nylon 6 for the production of new carpets, sportswear and swimwear.
The Econyl regeneration process will now be used to separate usable nylon from Speedo’s blended post-production fabric scraps, with this then upcycled into raw nylon fibre for the new Speedo PowerFlex Eco swimwear range.
Made from 100% upcycled nylon waste materials, Econyl issaid to be ideal for creating high-quality garments that are durable, lightweight, breathable and environmentally friendly. It offers the same quality and performance as traditionally manufactured nylon and can be recycled an infinite number of times without any loss in quality.
The Speedo PowerFlex fabric consists of 78% Econyl nylon and 22% Extra Life Lycra, helping it to retain its shape up to ten times longer than traditional swimwear fabrics, and is resistant to chlorine, sagging and bagging.
"We are challenging apparel manufacturers to be more sustainable and restructure their supply chain to divert waste from landfill," said Aquafil chairman and CEO Giulio Bonazzi.
Of Speedo, he added: "They are really helping us close the loop and create a more sustainable manufacturing process."
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