It’s estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Eight million metric tonnes are dumped into our oceans every year, and fishing nets are a large contributor. Last year, 75,000kg of fishing nets were collected through Healthy Seas.
But what do fishing nets have to do with flooring? At Project Floors, we’re unafraid to push the boundaries of design – we’re constantly innovating and at the forefront of the latest trends, but not at the expense of our planet, especially when there are far better alternatives.
In this blog, we dive deep into Econyl flooring – why it’s one of the best green-rated products on the market and why architects, designers and specifiers should be saying no to virgin nylon flooring altogether.
The problem with nylon
Nylon was the first fabric to be made entirely in a laboratory, signalling the start of the age of synthetics. It was used throughout World War II because of its strength and durability, and generally replaced everything that was once made from silk.
Nylon is a type of plastic derived from crude oil. It’s then put through an intensive chemical process which makes its fibres strong and elastic.
However, this process has an extremely detrimental environmental impact:
- Made from non-renewable resources. Nylon is partly derived from coal and petroleum.
- Greenhouse gases. Producing nylon creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is 300x more potent than carbon dioxide.
- Consumes large amounts of water. Manufacturing nylon requires a lot of water, which can be a source of environmental contamination and pollution.
On top of all that, nylon is non-biodegradable, so it sits in landfills for hundreds of years and builds up ‘islands of plastic’ in our oceans. It’s estimated that up to 40% of man-made plastic waste in our oceans is nylon, and fishing nets are one of the most common industrial applications of the fabric.
Econyl: a full-circle alternative
In 2011, Italian synthetic textile producer Aquafil developed an environmentally sustainable alternative to nylon called Econyl to recycle and replace virgin nylon in our everyday products.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Regenerated fabric. Synthetic waste such as fishing nets collected from the ocean is recycled and regenerated into new nylon yarn.
- Circular product lifecycle. Consumers buy new without manufacturers ever having to use new resources.
The Econyl regeneration system consists of four parts: rescue, regenerate, remake and reimagine.
The system starts by rescuing waste that is then sorted and cleaned to recover as much nylon as possible.
Through a radical regeneration and purification process, the nylon waste is recycled right back to its original purity. That means Econyl is the same as fossil-based nylon.
Regenerated nylon is processed into yarns and polymers for the fashion and interiors industries.
Econyl regenerated nylon is used to create brand-new products, and it has the potential to be recycled indefinitely, without ever losing its quality.
Creating beautiful flooring designs with Econyl
At Project Floors, we’re committed to making a positive impact, and our challenge is to ensure that it’s beneficial now – and for future generations. That’s why we’re playing our part in recovering some of the 640,000 tonnes of abandoned fishing nets in the ocean by working with carpet tiles made from Econyl regenerated yarn.
With a growing demand for green flooring alternatives, Econyl is an eco-friendlier and more ethical source of textiles. There’s plenty of room for designers and architects to retain creative freedom while working with a product that doesn’t harm the planet, and it’s a high-quality, high-standard product that is made to last a lifetime – in the best possible way.
Looking to source Econyl for your next flooring project? Get in touch with the Project Floors team – and they’ll sort you out with a sample.
Project Floors supports Healthy Seas initiatives.