The Net Effect

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Econyl, a new brand of nylon, saving the planet one fishing net at a time.

Mass production of textiles, pollution and recycling are major factors in our never-ending battle to save the environment, especially when a substance like nylon is involved.
Aquafil, a yarn and fiber production company based in Italy, seems to have taken this issue one step further. Their new brand of nylon, called Econyl, is completely produced by recycled fishing nets. You read correctly – fishing nets! There are roughly 600,000 of these fishing nets roaming freely in our planet’s waters, and Aquafil has teamed up with some NGO’s to collect and recycle these nets. The nets are then sent to the company’s factory in Slovenia, where the regeneration, as Aquafil prefers to call it, process begins. The result of their optimized six-step recycling process is a nylon material called caprolactam, which is also 100% recyclable.

While the cause is noble and the material is of good quality, Aquafil had a hard time selling this material at first, as manufacturers still preferred the conventionally produced yarns and materials. However, this changed in the summer of 2015, as Aquafil announced a new partnership between its Econyl brand and Outerknown, a new menswear apparel collection founded by Kelly Slater.

Slater, an eleven-time world champion surfer, founded the stylish clothing brand with a personal mission in mind. His goal was to create a stylish and functional clothing line, all while incorporating a sustainable manufacturing process and eco-friendly materials. The partnership between Outerknown and Econyl is a perfect match, as Kelly achieved his goal of putting Outerknown on the cutting edge of sustainable fashion and Aquafil found great use for the Econyl brand. The added bonus for Kelly is that the recycling process of these fishing nets is not only good for the environment, but it is especially good for marine life and ocean maintenance. As a pro surfer, Slater holds this issue close to his heart.

As the destruction of our environment and pollution of our planet continues at an alarming rate, let’s hope that more companies like Aquafil and people like Kelly Slater continue to take initiative, and more people participate in the global effort to make our world a better place.

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