Never miss a great news story!
Get instant notifications from Economic Times
AllowNot now


You can switch off notifications anytime using browser settings.
11,921.50-96.9
Stock Analysis, IPO, Mutual Funds, Bonds & More

It's a goldmine, not a landfill: This Italian entrepreneur uses garbage to make upscale accessories

Giulio Bonazzi's company uses Econyl, recycled thread to make clothes.

Bloomberg|
May 04, 2019, 05.37 PM IST
0Comments
Getty Images
Recycled
Representative image
By Chiara Remondini

To you, it’s a garbage dump. To Italian entrepreneur Giulio Bonazzi, it’s the launchpad for a Stella McCartney handbag or a pair of Levi’s jeans.

“When I look at a landfill, I see a goldmine,” Bonazzi, the founder and chief executive officer of nylon manufacturer Aquafil, said in an interview.

As volumes of plastic-based waste reach a tipping point in oceans and trash heaps around the world, Bonazzi’s company is recycling the material and turning it into nylon used to make upscale apparel and accessories.

And with heightened consumer awareness and tougher environmental rules, the CEO sees unlimited potential for sales of the company’s Econyl thread. The yarn is made from recycled material which may have started life as carpet or industrial plastic, or even part of an abandoned fishing net -- an increasingly promising area for recycling.

environment


“Consumer demand for new products is almost endless, but the planet’s resources aren’t,” Bonazzi, 56, said. “That’s OK, because we can have both state-of-the-art products and a better environment.”

Check That Label
Check your label: you may already own a swimsuit, workout clothes or casual wear made from Econyl. Adidas AG, Levi Strauss & Co. and Speedo International are just three of the better-known clients using the yarn, according to the company.

Consumers may be more willing than ever to pay premium prices for products made from planet-friendly materials, and Bonazzi says Econyl, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of Aquafil’s fiber sales, is clearly a “top-quality and thus top-margin” product for the company.

That’s borne out by the fiber’s use by high-end fashion names like Gucci, the CEO said. The Stella McCartney brand has also said it will stop using virgin nylon by 2020 -- and use more Econyl.

recylce


Legislation is helping push the trend too. While the European Union made headlines with a ban on consumer items like plastic plates, cutlery and straws beginning in 2021, a less noticed part of the initiative includes dealing with abandoned fishing gear, which represents about 27 percent of marine litter.

A significant number of disused fishing nets are not collected for treatment and, together with single-use plastic products, that poses “a severe risk to marine ecosystems, biodiversity and human health,” according to the text of new EU legislation. Member states should tighten rules to ensure collection and waste management, it says.

That’s where Aquafil comes in, the CEO said. The company is already benefiting from a “positive announcement effect” from the EU directive, he said, with major fishing-net consumers reaching out to the Arco, Italy-based company on collection and recycling.

Slice Of History: Legendary Swords And The Kings Who Brandished Them

of 6
Next
Prev
Play Slideshow

The Shining Edge Of Power

15 May, 2018
The famous sword of Tipu Sultan made news recently when Vijay Mallya, its most recent owner, gave it away as it had brought him ”bad luck”. Let’s take a look at other legendary swords and the kings who brandished them. (Image: www.nationalmuseumindia.gov.in & Tex: Viandra Dsouza)
Next


“While any move in this direction is appreciated, Europe could have been bolder and set stricter goals,” Bonazzi said. “The hope is that individual countries will understand the importance of this measure and act swiftly. Time to save the planet is running out.”
Want stories like this in your inbox? Sign up for the daily ET Panache newsletter.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Also Read

Bengaluru landfills to be cleared soon

PMO steps in to address Ghazipur landfill issue

Delhi's air quality slips to 'very poor', firefighting continues at Bhalswa landfill

Mompreneurs keep disposable diapers away from landfills

Comments
Add Your Comments
Commenting feature is disabled in your country/region.
Download The Economic Times Business News App for the Latest News in Business, Sensex, Stock Market Updates & More.

Other useful Links


Follow us on


Download et app


Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service