25 Mar 2013
Aquafil Group recycling used fishing and fish farm nets
A Sustainability Concept: Recycling of End-of-Life Netting Materials
An advanced recycling technology is helping to recycle polyamide 6 spent nets into carpeting and apparels.
The Aquafil Group specializes primarily in the production, marketing and supply of nylon 6 synthetic yarns and polymers. The company has developed a strong focus in applying sustainability principles in two ways. The first is in the development of new sustainable products from recycle raw material sources with co-marketing activities with clients and suppliers. The second is the use of low environmental impact or renewable energies during production.
The Group employs more than 1,900 people and has a presence in three continents: Europe, North America and Asia. In Europe, it has five production facilities in Italy, three in Slovenia and one in Croatia. The North American facility is in Cartersville, Georgia, USA. In Asia, there is a facility in Thailand and a new 2011 production facility opened in China, located in Jiaxing City, near Shanghai.
The Aquafil mission is to generate a closed loop cycle of sustainable polyamide 6 products. In doing this, the group has also discovered a wide range of end-of-life goods that can be used for this purpose, such as fish-nets (fish farm cage nets, gill nets and some trawling and purse seine nets). This is possible due to an advanced recycling technology. The recovery of polyamide 6 spent nets also avoids environmental concerns to water bodies, oceans and beaches, from stray or abandoned ghost netting materials. The group is operating a new post-consumer recycling plant in Slovenia.
Recycled polyamide (also known as Nylon)
The recycled polyamide content is called Econyl®. With this project, Aquafil attains full sustainability in its production process while at the same time overcoming the problems associated with regulations on waste disposal. At the end of their useful life, these spent products are most typically land filled or stored in perpetuity. Both of which are a negative impact to the environment and a possible impediment to industry growth. In some cases the nets are incinerated, in the best cases for fuel or energy recovery. More importantly, closed loop recycling these materials, at the end of their useful life, directly displaces and reduces the consumption of natural resources, both in the form of raw materials derived from crude oil, and as electricity, thermal energy and utilities in general obtained from fossil fuels.
This Econyl® project is Aquafil’s path towards full sustainability in its production process. The company says that, “this is one of the most complete ecological recycling systems. It starts with polyamide 6 post consumer waste scraps and ends up with yarns that are made into carpeting/apparel, returning it to virgin grade quality and the full brilliant color possibilities Aquafil is well known for, all in a continuous cycle.
However, all these processes will be more promising with the cooperation of clients, associations and groups that will help to recover the end of life goods needed in closing the ‘reclaim-recycle and reuse’ loop.”
Aquafil is promoting an “Econyl® for sustainable design” product development methodology so that their customers can better champion end of product life responsibility and stewardship. For aquaculture this means designing products with the end of life in mind by using polyamide 6 based netting and ropes while minimizing other polymers in net construction going forward. Remember end of net life management begins when you source your materials of construction or make the purchasing decision.”
The fishing and aquaculture industry can support this sustainability initiative by supplying end-of-life netting materials. Aquafil is seeking the assistance of industry members, stakeholders, associations and government organizations to identify possible sources. It will also make compensation and transport arrangements. Those interested, please contact:
For Canada, North and South America
1 Aquafil Drive
Cartersville, GA 30120 U.S.A.
Europe and Asia
Via Linfano 9
38062 Arco (TN) – Italia
office: +39 0464 581105
cell: +39 348 3115102
E-mail : Ladislao.Labriola@aquafil.com
More information: web: