Econyl Fabric: Is Swimwear Made from Fishing Nets Green?
Have you ever heard the saying ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’? Well, that’s Econyl fabric in a nutshell.
And yes, we mean that literally.
What is Econyl material?
Econyl material is a new textile fibre obtained from both pre- and post-consumer plastic waste, from carpet fluff to discarded fishing nets.
Recycled or regenerated nylon fabric, in other words.
It was invented by Italian plastics company Aquafil in 2011, and here’s a little overview of how this process works:
Is Econyl 100% recycled?
Yes. Econyl is 100% recycled and can be infinitely recycled, too.
Econyl fabric and sustainability
The only thing differentiating Econyl fabric from virgin nylon is the way they’re produced.
Chemically, though? They’re exactly the same, which means that Econyl is just as tough, durable, and stretchy once it’s woven.
This obviously makes it ideal for sportswear and swimwear, just like normal nylon.
But is recycled fishing nets fabric as sustainable as it sounds for your next summer holiday?
Let’s sea (pun intended).
The environmental benefits of Econyl fabric
Nylon’s new twin has a few aces up its recycled sleeve:
- Econyl fabric uses waste that would otherwise be hanging out in landfills and oceans for decades or even centuries. To put it into perspective, 11 million tonnes of plastic end up in the sea every year, including 640 thousand tons of fishing nets and gear
- While virgin nylon is petroleum-derived, Econyl fabric doesn’t rely on fossil fuels
- The production of recycled nylon is more eco-friendly than its virgin counterpart: 10,000 tons of Econyl save 70,000 barrels of oil and 57,100 tonnes of CO2, bringing its environmental impact down by 80%
- 70% of Aquafil’s energy comes from renewable sources, too
The cons of Econyl fabric
When looking at virgin nylon vs Econyl fabric, the former hasn’t got a single environmental advantage over its recycled alternative.
So, the only cons of Econyl swimwear fabric are... the same as those of traditional nylon:
- It’s not biodegradable
- It releases microplastics when washed, which also end up in the sea
So, is Econyl really sustainable?
While it still poses a couple of challenges, Econyl is definitely more sustainable than virgin nylon: it helps reduce plastic waste, doesn’t involve new fossil fuels, and has a less polluting production process.
Would you like to wear your new Econyl swimwear and sportswear in an even more eco-friendly fashion?
- Don’t think of your garments as disposable: only purchase Econyl items that you can see yourself wearing for many more summers. That way, you’ll prolong their lifecycle even further, helping reduce waste
- Wash your synthetic clothes less often to minimise the shedding of microplastics, and consider investing in a laundry ball that catches them
Find the right swimwear and activewear made with Econyl fabric
Luckily, more and more brands are now using Econyl recycled nylon for their collections.
Some excellent places to start are:
- September: stylish swimwear often relying on interesting cuts and creative designs
- AURAI Swim: extremely colourful swimwear with bright patterns, all digitally printed to save even more water
- Novel Swim: a varied range featuring Econyl swimwear fabric and involving several tropical patterns
- Pure by Luce: sportswear and activewear to stay fit and eco-conscious
But that’s not all, of course!
At Project Cece, we’ve brought hundreds of fairtrade brands in one place to help you find the right ethical garments for you quickly and easily. So, just use our filters to discover more Econyl items.
While it might not be perfect, Econyl fabric is definitely a big step (or swim) forward for sustainable fashion!
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