Aquafil will open its first U.S. carpet recycling facility in Phoenix offering a long-awaited solution to this persistent source of waste. Aquafil Carpet Recycling (ACR) #1 will recycle the Nylon 6 waste from carpets back into raw material, further enhancing its pioneering ECONYL® Regeneration System – the only technology in the world capable of regenerating Nylon 6 from carpets and other waste, including fishing nets.
Each year in the U.S., an astonishing 4 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.
“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 honored to call Phoenix home to that power with ACR #1.”
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 marks a new era, as Aquafil continues to invest in 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 percent post-consumer waste. “We want to recycle as much carpet as possible by establishing a number of these facilities throughout the U.S.,” 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 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.
Just as Aquafil is helping the fashion industry become more sustainable, it is creating an opportunity to turn carpet waste into a business advantage, helping brands and manufacturers reduce their environmental impact to transform a historically wasteful industry.