How companies can source nylon more sustainably

Updated : October 2020


  • Sourcing professionals
  • Synthetic fiber professionals
Nylon was the first fabric made entirely in a laboratory. The production of nylon is similar to that of polyester, with similar environmental consequences. It sheds microplastic fibers that end up in waterways and oceans every time it is washed, and because it is not biodegradable, it ends up in a landfill at the end of its product life cycle. The article provides recommendations on nylon sourcing strategies for brands. Recycled nylon is considered a preferred alternative to virgin nylon and bio-based nylons (produced with renewable raw materials) potentially offer a promising alternative. The best-known regenerated nylon product is ECONYL®which is made of nylon waste from landfills and oceans in a closed-loop process and is infinitely recyclable. Several standards-track recycled nylon through the supply chain, including the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS), Global Recycled Standard (GRS), and SCS Recycled Content. Many bio-based alternatives are still in early development and brands leading the charge in this area are investing in research and development and engaging in pre-collaborative initiatives. Brands are also educating consumers about nylon’s impacts as a way to drive enthusiasm and interest. Quality and durability are essential for technical, high-performance products. Norrona has implemented a 14-point quality control system to ensure that products made from recycled materials are fit for heavy use.

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