The Duchess of Sussex made headlines expectedly as she carried her Prada travel bag off her flight to Canada; made of a regenerated nylon material called Econyl, the bag has been dubbed “sustainable by a number of outlets.
Econyl has indeed quickly earned the reputation of being one of fashion’s favorite eco-friendly materials. But the question is just how sustainable is Econyl? And is the buzz around Meghan Markle’s “sustainable” bag really hold up?
To answer these questions, we need to start with how the material is made.
How Do Manufactures Make Econyl?
Econyl is a material made from recycled waste found on the ocean floors and landfill areas. Created by the Italian firm Aquafil, a plethora of companies from all around the world are adopting Econyl material.
Currently, fishing nets make up approximately 46% of the 79,000 tons of waste on the ocean floor. And Econyl aims to recycle these wasted nets into usable and fashionable nylon.
Traditional methods of creating nylon aren’t not eco-friendly. The process requires a large quantity of water, and it produces nitrous oxide, which is more potent than carbon dioxide.
In fact, the nitrous oxide created from traditional methods of nylon manufacture contributes to 10% of the increase observed for atmospheric nitrous oxide. Furthermore, nylon is not biodegradable, meaning that it can sit in landfills for more than 30 years.
According to the Econyl website, these waste products go through a radical six-step regeneration and purification process. The recycled product is virtually the same as the virgin nylon, so it is the perfect material to use for both carpet yarns and textile yarns for fashion.
Moreover, it is able to save about 70,000 barrels of crude oil from the ocean and prevent 57,100 tons of carbon emissions by extracting waste from various sites.
Why Suppliers Like Econyl
Emphasizing the importance of recycling and reusing, suppliers that work with Econyl have attracted consumers from around the world.
Furthermore, consumers are not lacking in the quality of clothing either, for the recycled nylon greatly resembles virgin nylon.
Unlike virgin nylon, the recycled nylon is able to be both degradable and recreated. For this reason, the material offers several ways to significantly reduce both carbon and nitrous oxide emissions.
Implications for Brands and Manufacturers
In addition, manufacturers can create manageable costs for both suppliers and consumers. The path to sustainable fashion is less obscure with recycled materials such as Econyl.
A number of brands such as Outerknown and Stella McCartney have opted to produce Econyl from oceanic waste. Today, multiple companies, including Prada, have acknowledged consumer demands for more sustainable products.