How is recycled nylon different from virgin nylon?
Recycled nylon is made from pre-consumer waste like discards from weaving mills which would have been upcycled or sent to landfills and post-consumer wastes like old and used fishing nets, plastic bottles, discarded or worn-out carpets. But it’s way different from that of virgin nylon. In simple terms, Recycled nylon has the same properties and benefits as recycled polyester. Aquafil, the company that manufactures recycled and certified nylon under the name ECONYL has proved that when compared to virgin nylon, recycling nylon uses much fewer resources in terms of water, energy and fossil fuels. The company has mentioned that the recycling process of nylon consumes 50 percent less energy and emits around 50 percent less carbon dioxide in comparison to the manufacturing of virgin nylon. This shows that by using recycled nylon the greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced from the manufacturing process.
In terms of manufacturing pricing, recycled nylon manufacturing is more costly than that of virgin nylon. When the recycled nylon is processed into yarns, the fabric produced has all the qualities that of nylon i.e. it retrieves back its original quality. These properties include sweat-wicking, breathable, quick-drying etc.
But there is a serious drawback of recycled nylon over virgin nylon. While the laundering process of recycled nylon, the garments may release microplastics in the water. These microplastics may end up in oceans which is not good for aquatic life and the environment. To avoid these microplastics to release into the laundry water, garments made of recycled fabrics have special wash care instructions. One of them is using a Guppyfriend bag which avoids the release of microplastics. These microplastics can be collected and then can be sent for recycling.