BUSINESS OF FASHION – Italian Company Aquafil Is Making Swimsuits from Garbage
As volumes of plastic-based waste reach a tipping point in oceans and trash heaps around the world Aquafil recycles the material and turning it into nylon used to make upscale apparel and accessories.
ARCO, Italy — To you, it’s a garbage dump. To Italian entrepreneur Giulio Bonazzi, it’s the launchpad for a Stella McCartney handbag or a pair of Levi’s jeans.
“When I look at a landfill, I see a goldmine,” Bonazzi, the founder and chief executive of nylon manufacturer Aquafil, said in an interview.
As volumes of plastic-based waste reach a tipping point in oceans and trash heaps around the world, Bonazzi’s company is recycling the material and turning it into nylon used to make upscale apparel and accessories.
And with heightened consumer awareness and tougher environmental rules, the chief executive sees unlimited potential for sales of the company’s Econyl thread. The yarn is made from recycled material which may have started life as carpet or industrial plastic, or even part of an abandoned fishing net — an increasingly promising area for recycling.
“Consumer demand for new products is almost endless, but the planet’s resources aren’t,” Bonazzi, 56, said. “That’s OK, because we can have both state-of-the-art products and a better environment.”