havep nylon made from recycled fishing nets

Circular together : nylon made from recycled fishing nets

In a circular economy it’s all about cooperation. We can’t change the world alone, but together we can. A perfect example of how to make a huge difference by joining forces is the cooperation between Healthy Seas and Aquafil, the producer of the innovative Econyl® nylon thread.

Choosing for Econyl® nylon thread gives us a unique chance to contribute to cleaning the oceans and at the same time make an important step towards a circular economy. Curious to find out how we do it? Read the story below.

Oceans full of waste

A lot of fishers abandon their old nylon fishing nets at sea. Meanwhile, according to a joint report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the UN Environmental Programme (UNE), we have approximately 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets in our oceans.

These discarded fishing nets represent one-tenth of all the litter and form a serious threat to oceans’ ecosystems. Animals like dolphins, turtles, crabs and sea birds regularly get caught in these nets and die. This is also a huge problem in the North Sea.

Innovative entrepreneurship

That’s why the organisation Healthy Seas dedicates itself to remove these fishing nets. Since its foundation in 2013, they have removed more than 311 tonnes of old fishing nets and saved the lives of thousands of animals. Until recently, people dumped fishing nets that were fished out of the sea onto landfill sites or burned them. But the Italian company Aquafil thought of a better use for these old fishing nets.

Under the brand name Econyl®, Aquafil makes new strong nylon thread from old fishing nets with the same quality as ‘virgin nylon thread’ that is made from fossil raw materials. What makes the Aquafil process so unique, is that their nylon thread can be recycled repeatedly without any quality loss.

The innovative process of Aquafil has huge advantages for the environment. With every 10,000 tonnes of Econyl® thread that they produce:

  • They reduce the CO₂ emission with 57,000 tonnes
  • They save 70 tonnes of petroleum

Full circle

At HAVEP we buy the Econyl® nylon thread via IBQ and from this year onwards we’ll start to process it into the trousers of our Attitude collection. From the nylon thread we make stretch-material that we use behind the knees of our Attitude trousers. That bit of fabric at the back of the knees may be a small part of the entire trousers, but when you think about the fact that we sell 30,000 Attitude-trousers per year, then we do make a significant difference.

And so it can happen that fishers are out at sea, wearing trousers in which their own, old fishing nets are processed. A beautiful example of a circular economy if you ask us.


Photos by: @ECONYL & case kassenberg.