Trento, Italy-based Aquafil, a leading manufacturer of Nylon 6, will open its first U.S. carpet recycling facility in Phoenix. Aquafil Carpet Recycling (ACR) No. 1 will recycle Nylon 6 from carpets back into raw material, further enhancing its Econyl Regeneration System, which the company says is the only technology in the world capable of regenerating Nylon 6 from carpets and other end-of-life products, including fishing nets.
Made from 100 percent recycled nylon, Aquafil’s Econyl yarn 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.
Once operational in 2018, ACR No. 1 will have the capacity to collect and process 35 million pounds of carpet per year.
“We’re not comfortable with the status quo—in this case that less than 5 percent of carpet waste is recycled,” says Aquafil CEO Giulio Bonazzi. “We know Nylon 6 waste can be powerful with the proper technology, and we’re honored to call Phoenix home to that power with ACR No. 1.”
Carpet recycling has historically been a challenge because of the many different materials used and with designs that do not allow for easy separation. Through the ECONYL Regeneration System, Aquafil avoids the use of petroleum, reduces carbon emissions and gives material an infinite number of lives without sacrificing quality, the company says.
ACR No. 1 is expected to create 50 new jobs and will repurpose material that is otherwise destined for landfill, getting Aquafil closer to its goal of producing ECONYL yarn from 100 percent postconsumer material.
“We want to recycle as much carpet as possible by establishing a number of these facilities throughout the U.S.,” says 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 is in high demand with carpet and textile manufacturers, as well as with apparel brands, Aquafil says. 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.
The Aquafil Group has a presence in eight countries on three continents, employing more than 2,700 staff at 14 plants in Italy, Germany, Scotland, Slovenia, Croatia, the U.S., Thailand and China.