Whitley, UK—Aquafil, a global leader in the synthetic fibers industry and creator of Econyl regenerated nylon, is partnering with Jaguar Land Rover to develop high-quality interiors made from ocean and landfill waste. Next-generation Jaguar and Land Rover models will feature floor mats and trims made with Econyl fiber from recycled industrial plastic, fabric offcuts from clothing manufacturers, fishing nets from the farming industry and those abandoned in the ocean known as ‘ghost nets.’
The Econyl nylon has already been used by high-end fashion, sportswear and luxury watch brands to create handbags, backpacks, swimwear and watch straps.
The nylon waste is reclaimed by Aquafil from all over the world. In a single year, the company recycles as much as 40,000 tons of waste, with the recycling process reducing the global warming impact of nylon by 90% compared with the material produced from oil, according to the company. For every 10,000 tons of Econyl raw material produced, 70,000 barrels of crude oil are saved and 65,100 tons of carbon emissions equivalent are avoided, the company said.
Inside state-of-the-art treatment centers the waste is analyzed, treated and prepared to feed into a chemical plant, where the nylon waste is broken to its original raw material using a chemical treatment process known as depolymerization. The raw nylon material is then turned into the yarn, known as Econyl.
Throughout the process, other by-products such as non-nylon, metallic materials or copper sulphate, which is used for preventing seagrass growing on fishing nets, are removed and sent to alternative industries for recycling. The resulting Econyl regenerated-nylon polymer has the same chemical and performance characteristics as raw fossil material, allowing it to be processed into a fiber for carpet flooring and textiles.
This yarn can then be used to manufacture floor mats for future Jaguar and Land Rover models with the goal of using more environmentally conscious and sustainable materials while still providing customers with a premium and hardwearing product. The process is helping Jaguar Land Rover move towards a circular economy as part of its journey to Destination Zero.
“Our designers and engineers are committed to developing the next generation of sustainable materials that will feature on future Jaguar and Land Rover models,” said Adrian Iles, senior engineer of interior systems at Jaguar Land Rover. “We place a great deal of focus on the creation of new sustainable materials, using the latest, most innovative techniques and textiles. Minimizing waste, re-using materials and reducing carbon emissions sits at the heart of our Destination Zero mission. This pioneering materials research is one of the key ways we’ll achieve this and is an integral part of our design offering to our customers.”