The ECONYL®

Project

01

A unique industrial system

The ECONYL® Regeneration System is the world's most efficient industrial system for the production of Nylon 6 from 100% regenerated waste materials. Conceptualized and designed entirely by the Aquafil Group, with an investment of nearly 25 million €, this innovative system was introduced in 2011 to produce Nylon 6 polymers from:
- Post-consumer waste (i.e. end-of-life products) made from Polyamide 6 including fishing nets, fluff (the top part of carpets and rugs) and rigid textiles
- Pre-consumer waste such as oligomers, scraps and others generated from the production of Nylon 6.

Infinite

Innovative

Sustainable

A whole new supply chain

The ECONYL® Regeneration System is based not only on the development of a new technology but also the creation of a new supply chain specialized in the recovery of waste worldwide. The ECONYL® Regeneration System is:

  • Infinite, as the Polyamide 6 waste can be regenerated an infinite number of times to produce new polymerswith technical characteristics and quality equivalent to products obtained from fossil materials.
  • Innovative, as it is the only system of its kind anywhere in the world in terms of efficiency and productivity.
  • Sustainable, as it recovers waste which would otherwise end up in landfills or oceans (fishing nets), causing serious damage to the entire ecosystem. It also enables real savings in terms of natural resources — about 7 barrels of oil per ton of regenerated polymers produced — as no virgin caprolactam is used to produce it (as in common Nylon).

Progression through the years to achieve 100% Regenerated Nylon

1998

Internal PA6 Recovery:Internal process waste contributes to the production of engineering plastics with recycled content.

2007

Production of Econyl70 BCF Recycled Yarn begins.

2011

Inauguration of the ECONYL® plant in Ljubjana. The production of 100% Regenerated Nylon starts.

2013

Special efforts are made to increase the percentage of post-consumer waste.

An international network for waste collection

To increase the efficiency of the ECONYL® Regeneration System, Aquafil has set up, and continues to grow, a structured international waste collection network based on partnerships with institutions, customers and public and private consortia.

The ECONYL Reclaiming Program allows Aquafil to gather large quantities of materials from all over the world, including the United States, Egypt, Pakistan, Thailand, Norway and Turkey.

The partnership with Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), a US-based consortium, is particularly important. Since its founding in 2002, CARE has recovered approximately 500 million pounds of old carpet.

Recover abandoned fishing nets and clean the seas.

The establishment of an international network to recover fishing nets abandoned in the sea is particularly important for Aquafil.

According to a joint FAO and UN Environmental Program report, this phenomenon is becoming more widespread and now accounts for more than 10% of all the waste found in the sea.

To tackle the problem of abandoned fish nets, Aquafil, together with an NGO and a sock producer, has founded an initiative called Healthy Seas, a journey from waste to wear. This initiative is aimed at recovering abandoned fishing nets to transform them into ECONYL® regenerated yarn to create beautiful, new products for the textile industry.

Aquafil is also a partners with Interface and the Zoological Society of London for the Net-Works™ initiative. This initiative recovers abandoned fish nets in the Philippines in cooperation with local fishing villages. Net-Works announced an expansion into Cameroon during the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.

02

The ECONYL® Regeneration System

03

Life Cycle Comparison