The shores of tourist resort Lake Garda may seem like an unlikely place to make nylon. But it’s here that an Italian company, Aquafil, discovered a way to take discarded carpeting, clothing and fishing nets and turn them into a recycled nylon fiber called EcoNyl.
Now companies including Adidas, Speedo and Desso are using the fiber to make sportswear, swimwear and carpets, reducing the quantity of garbage in landfills and the sea.The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that textile waste makes up nearly 5 percent of all landfill space.
As for the seas, an estimated eight million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year, according to the journal Science. About one-tenth of that comes from discarded nylon fishing nets.