Econyl: what if the future of the textile industry lies at the bottom of our oceans?

Econyl is a regenerated and infinitely recyclable nylon fiber. Produced from ghost fishing nets and other plastic waste, it addresses two environmental challenges: reducing plastic waste and limiting the impact of nylon fiber production. The ethical fashion brand Atelier Unes tells you the story of this beautiful recycled and recyclable fiber!

Econyl: a technology that is revolutionizing nylon production

Econyl is a registered trademark of the Italian company aquafil† As a specialist in the manufacture of nylon fibers, the textile giant has developed an innovative technology to the more eco-responsible production process

Nylon is indeed a synthetic chemical material derived from petroleum. Therefore, its production has many environmental impacts, including:

  • air pollution,
  • The overconsumption of water,
  • The release of microplastics in marine ecosystems.

How to make this system more sustainable? That is the question of Giulio Bonazzi, CEO of Aquafil. After analyzing the production cycle, the polyamide 6.6 producer concluded that the most impactful step in the production process was: the extraction of the raw material. The goal was therefore to take this phase out of the equation!

Over almost 4 years and thanks to an investment of several million euros, the company has finally succeeded in developing a technology capable of: uses nylon back to its original shape. With this Aquafil kills two birds with one stone. We explain why.

Econyl: the fiber made from plastic waste from the ocean

The 150 million tons of plastic dumped in our oceans are among the 6 most related to environmental emergencies from the Nations Unions.

Among this waste, 10% are fishing nets† Also called “ghost nets”, they represent 46% of floating waste. According to CAMthey are responsible for 100,000 suffocation of marine animals each year.

An alarming observation that subsequently gave the CEO of Aquafil an ingenious idea: harvesting marine litter to make a more responsible nylon fiber.

Results ? Thanks to Econyl, here are the progress made:

  • 510 tons of marine litter have been collected since 2013;
  • 10,000 tons of Econyl saved 70,000 barrels of crude oil and the equivalent of 65,100 tons of CO₂
  • The production of recycled nylon generates 90% less impact on global warming compared to virgin nylon.

Photo: ©jonas-jacobsson

How is Econyl fiber made?

  1. We collect pre- and post-consumer waste: abandoned fishing nets, textile scraps, floors, industrial plastic, etc. At Econyl’s factory, they are sorted and cleaned in Slovenia.
  1. The waste is regenerated. The thread used is converted into nylon thread: it becomes as pure as new nylon.
  1. Nylon goes through the same production process as virgin polyamide to be converted into textile fiber.
  1. The Econyl fiber is marketed to enable young innovative companies such as Atelier Unes to make responsible clothing.

Best of all, the Econyl fiber, once worn, can go back into the recycling process and be infinitely recycled.

This vicious circle therefore makes Econyl zero waste fiber. Not bad right?

Photo: © Unsplash

Nymphéa: the bathing suit that feels good

In the summer of 2021, Atelier Unes launched the challenge to create a swimsuit that is as beautiful as it is ecological.

Inspired by the 1950s, the Nymphéa one-piece swimsuit was co-created by more than 9,300 brand customers:

  • adjustable and detachable straps;
  • button under the chest;
  • triangle top without underwire;
  • three colors including a version with floral motifs.

Like all Ateliers Unes creations, this one-piece swimsuit is designed to last. Your jersey will retain all its elasticity and shaping effect thanks to the high-quality recycled material. A material that, after a special ecological treatment, is also resistant to chlorine, salt, sunscreen (SPF50) and the sun.

The brand even gives you all of its recommendations for properly maintaining your swimsuit at home.

Photo: ©Atelier Unes

Compared to fast-fashion, the Nymphéa economy swimsuit 3 liters of water and avoids the production of 4 kg of CO2.

Following the success of the 2021 version of the one-piece swimsuit, the brand is launching not just one but two new releases for the summer of 2022. On the program: the return of the one-piece swimsuit, as well asan ethical swimsuit in a two-piece version.

Atelier Unes is currently organizing a survey to involve you in the co-creation of this bikini† Pre-orders take place from April 5 to 19 for delivery in June. So… Ready for the big dive?

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