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Aquafil to open carpet recycling facility

Each year in the US, four billion pounds of carpet is discarded in landfills – the equivalent of 6,060 humpback whales.

13th September 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Trento

Sustainable, Interiors

Each year in the US, four billion pounds of carpet is discarded in landfills – the equivalent of 6,060 humpback whales. Once operational in 2018, ACR #1 will have the capacity to collect and treat 35 million pounds of carpet per year, making a sizeable dent in the waste stream, the company reports.

“We’re not comfortable with the status quo – in this case that less than five percent of carpet waste is recycled,” said Aquafil CEO Giulio Bonazzi. “We know Nylon 6 waste can be powerful with the proper technology, and we’re honoured to call Phoenix home to that power with ACR #1.”

Carpet recycling

Carpet recycling has historically been a challenge due to the many different materials used, along with designs that do not allow for easy separation. ACR #1 aims to contribute to the company’s continuing effort to offer innovative solutions to waste. Through the Econyl Regeneration System, Aquafil avoids the use of petroleum, reduces carbon emissions and gives waste an infinite number of lives without sacrificing quality.

ACR #1 is expected to create 50 new jobs, and will repurpose waste that is otherwise destined for landfill, getting Aquafil closer to its goal of producing Econyl yarn from 100% post-consumer waste. “We want to recycle as much carpet as possible by establishing a number of these facilities throughout the US,” said Bonazzi. “This activity will be closely connected to our fishing nets recycling efforts, which diverts millions of pounds of waste from our oceans.”

Econyl yarn

Made from 100% regenerated nylon waste, Aquafil’s Econyl yarn helps divert global waste streams from landfills and oceans and is used to produce a wide range of textile products such as sportswear, swimwear and carpets. In 2007, Aquafil established the Energy & Recycling business unit to boost the sustainable activities of the Aquafil Group. Thanks to its research and development activities the Econyl Regeneration System was created.

Econyl yarn is in high demand with carpet and textile manufacturers, as well as apparel brands. To date, Aquafil has partnered with more than 160 brands including adidas, Volcom and Stella McCartney, along with carpet manufacturers such as Interface, Milliken, Mannington and Tarkett Group.

Since 1969, Aquafil has been one of the leading players, both in Italy and globally, in the production of polyamide, or Nylon 6. The Aquafil Group has a presence in eight countries on three continents, employing more than 2,700 staff at 14 plants located in Italy, Germany, Scotland, Slovenia, Croatia, the US, Thailand and China.

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