“The sustainable nylon is perfectly in line with our commitment to creating sustainable products.”
The world’s clothing industry could get the chance to at least partially lessen the impact it has on the environment, following the formation of a partnership to develop a 100% sustainable form of one of the most well-known man-made fabrics – nylon.
The fabric, which is traditionally made using fossil-fuel based chemicals, could be given a new lease of life should efforts by Genomatica, a bioengineering company, and Aquafil, a textile producer, come to fruition. The essence of the new bio-fabric focuses around the use of a sustainable form of caprolactam, an organic compound commonly used in the production of plastic as well as for this particular strain of eco-nylon.
The creation of a fabric with no impact on the environment is long overdue. Bio-Based World News reported last year of shocking statistics that revealed the fashion industry puts the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles into the ocean every year, due to some clothing being responsible for releasing half a million tonnes of microfibres into the ocean every year.
Already widely used to make a variety of products that formerly comprised entirely of fossil fuel-based materials, such as carpets, caprolactam has a worldwide market of over five million tons per year, according to Genomatica. The CEO of Genomatica, Christophe Schilling, said his company’s sustainable organic material products were helping suppliers like Aquafil – which makes carpets for offices and hotels around the world – to gain market share.
“This is another example of Genomatica applying the power of biology to rethink how widely-used chemicals can be made a better way,” said Schilling. The technology that Schilling speaks of is Genomatica’s GENO CPL process, which aims to provide an environmentally-friendly way to make caprolactam with better economics, including for smaller-scale plants.
The other half of the partnership, Aquafil, is no stranger to bio materials either, with the Italian company already producing a form of nylon made from 100% regenerated waste. Called Econyl, the product was launched in 2011 and is used by a number of producers of sportswear, fashion and carpets. Speaking on the Genomatica-Aquafil partnership, Giulio Bonazzi, Aquafil’s CEO, said the widespread use of Econyl showed the motivation of companies to play an active role in the circular economy. “The sustainable nylon is perfectly in line with our commitment to creating sustainable products,” said Bonazzi. “Genomatica brings the technology, innovation and track record to help us achieve this.”
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