Introducing ECONYL: How we aim to save our marine life, one bikini at a time!
Econyl fabric is paving the way forward for sustainable and ethically crafted swimwear. The team at Styelle Swim are proud to announce that we will soon be introducing this amazing fabric to many of our swim ranges. The benefits of Econyl in terms of its environmental impact are overwhelming. Let’s delve a little deeper into the process behind sourcing Econyl fabric, and why this is helping to clean up our oceans, and positively control climate change.
What is Econyl?
Aquafil is the Italian firm behind Econyl, who have developed this amazing technology which turns synthetic waste such as abandoned fishing nets from the ocean, industrial plastic and waste fabric into a new nylon yarn. This yarn mimics the exact quality of traditional nylon fabric (also known as virgin nylon).
The premise of this process is based on the following four-step regeneration system:
Rescue: The process starts by rescuing waste such as fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring and industrial plastics from landfill and oceans across the globe. The waste is sorted and cleaned to recover as much nylon as possible.
Regenerate: The nylon waste is then recycled back to its original purity via a radical regenerative and purification process. That means that Econyl nylon is the exact same as virgin nylon.
Remake: Econyl nylon is then processed into textile yarn for the fashion industry (amongst many other industries including interiors, carpets and furnishings).
Reimagine: Fashion brands (like us) use this regenerated Econyl nylon to create brand new products. The best part is that this nylon has the potential to then be recycled infinitely, without losing its quality. The goal is that once all products containing Econyl are no longer needed by customers, these products can go back into step one of this regeneration system – and the cycle begins again!
“Reuse, recycling and clean oceans are vital to the future of the growing world population and to the global economy. However the main issue is to prevent ghost gear from entering the environment and causing such tremendous damage to the marine ecosystem,” – Audun Lem, Deputy Director, Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Resources Division, FAO of the UN.
According to a joint report produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), it is estimated that there are roughly 640 000 tonnes of discarded fishing nets within our oceans. Also referred to as ghost nets, they can remain in our marine ecosystem for hundreds of years, and can result in the accidental capture of dolphins, turtles and other marine animals, which can die trapped in the mesh.
Not for profit initiatives such as Healthy Seas work alongside Aquafil to recover and reuse these damaging ghost nets. They apply a two-way approach to achieving their mission – not only recovering the waste from our oceans for later use, but also heavily focusing on educational programs promoting preventative action. These are implemented with the assistance of fishermen and fish farms to raise awareness.
The fishing nets recovered from sea beds by volunteer Healthy Seas divers are then sent to Aquafil’s Slovenian regeneration plant and undergo the four-step regeneration process to create Econyl nylon.
Aside from saving our marine life – the production of Econyl is also better for climate change and our ecosystem. Traditional production methods for nylon are not eco-friendly and rely on massive amounts of water. They also product a large amount of nitrous oxide which is 10 times more potent than carbon dioxide. For every 10,000 tons of Econyl raw material, Aquafil are able to save 70 000 barrels of crude oil and avoid 57 100 tonnes of CO2 eq. emissions. This means that it reduces the global warming impact of nylon production by up to 80% - compared with the material produced from oil.
The Styelle difference
At Styelle Swim, our mission is to make Styelle-ish babes around the world the talk of the beach, and nurture a sustainable future through our ethical sourcing and biodegradable materials. With a passion for the protection of our planet and a love of the beach, our founder Charys sought to have our swim wear made in beautiful Brazil – with a focus which was less on waste, and more so on ethical production.
As members of the Ethical Fashion Forum and Common Objective, we take regular online training about ways to better the ethical side of the business. Charys is always looking to further her knowledge to bring only the best to Styelle.
“When you wear your Styelle bikini, you know that you not only look and feel great – but you have made your contribution to the ethical and sustainable fashion movement,” she says.
“The off-cuts of our materials are donated for art and crafts and the residues and recyclables are separated and collected by Votuporanga’s recycling company. We are very excited to allocate the residues without harming the environment.”