Italian firm Aquafil has developed a recycling system called Econyl, able to produce 100& recycled fiber from carpets, fishing nets and plastic components.
After its launch in Europe, the firm is looking to expand internationally, including markets like the US and the Middle East.
The first Econyl plant was opened in 2010 in Slovenia and the firm already is facing a high demand from the market. There are plans to build a second Econyl plant in the US, which is a key market for the firm.
“The Middle East is, of course, a strategic area for the carpet industry and therefore for Aquafil. Together with our clients we are working on several important projects with local companies that will involve Econyl. In fact, Econyl is already having a lot of demand on the Middle East market,” said Giulio Bonazzi, chairman and CEO, Aquafil Group.
According to the firm, three international carpet producers – Interface, Desso and Anker – are the main companies using the service, with Desso announcing last year that 60% of its carpet tile range will be carried out with Econyl.
The Econyl Recycling System produces the recycled fiber from: old carpets, that usually are collected and transported to a landfill; fishing nets, that in many cases are dumped in the sea posing a serious hazard to the environment; and plastic components (such as automotive parts).
Bonazzi said: “Econyl can really be a revolutionary technology for the design and architecture industry. In fact, thanks to the Econyl yarn, designers, architects and real estate developers are able to use carpet made out of 100% recycled carpet yarns for their projects, adding a further important step to reach fully sustainable buildings and constructions.”
He said his firm believes sustainability is the key for the future of the industry. “The entire design and architecture industry is striving towards innovation, everyday bringing into the market products that are more respectful to the environment, possibly in a closed loop, not taking anything from the earth and not leaving anything in the earth at the end of the cycle. That is why we believe that Econyl is the future for this industry when you are talking about carpets,” he added.
Econyl is an endless process: the used materials can be recycled an infinite number of times, always keeping the same high standard of quality of a virgin yarn.
In order to collect all the waste, Aquafil created the Econyl Reclaiming Program. The aim of this program is to make agreements with carpet companies (most of Aquafil’s clients), real estate developers, carpet collectors, fishermen’s associations, and marine fisheries all around the world to expand the network of collection of waste materials that will then feed the recycling system.
In less then a year, the firm hopes to generate over 10% of Aquafil’s yearly production volumes and in 2012 the company is planning a large expansion of its Econyl plant in order to be able to meet the market’s demand.
Aquafi is the second largest producer worldwide of Nylon 6 for textile flooring and synthetic clothing fibers, based in Trento, Italy.