18 May 2016

GUARDIAN SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS – Recycling nylon is good for the planet – so why don’t more companies do it?

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US brands are increasingly turning to recycled nylon to make everything from outerwear to skateboards


 

Three years ago, David Stover, Ben Kneppers and Kevin Ahearn quit their jobs in finance and co-founded Bureo, a Los Angeles-based company that makes skateboards and sunglasses from recycled nylon.

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Italian manufacturer Aquafil is also eating its own product, as it were – in this case, it’s nylon fibers used in their carpets. Giulio Bonazzi, CEO of Aquafil, says that after nearly 40 years of producing carpet yarn, a growing awareness of the environmental harm caused by synthetic materials made him want to turn towards a more environmentally friendly business model.

In 2007, Aquafil began developing a machine that can churn through most kinds of nylons, producing new threads ready to be repurposed. Aquafil now sells these threads, called Econyl, to American brands such as Outerknown, an LA-based outerwear company started by pro surfer Kelly Slater, and swimwear giantSpeedo.

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