YKK’s latest development follows through on its commitment to incorporating more recycled fibers into its offerings. On Tuesday, the global trims manufacturer debuted a collection of two zippers and a button made with Econyl regenerated nylon.
Manufactured by synthetic fiber producer Aquafil SpA and supplied in collaboration with Tokyo-based trade company Itochu Corporation, the circular material is made from nylon waste collected from around the world. Some of its biggest sources include industrial plastic, fabric scraps, fishing nets from the aquaculture sector and old carpets. In 2020, the company launched Aquafil Carpet Recycling, a division focused on the recovery and processing of post-consumer rugs and carpets used to create Econyl. The company previously reported that its facilities have the capacity to collect and treat 36 million pounds of carpet each year, making a sizable dent in the waste stream.
YKK’s new collection features a Vislon Natulon plastic injected zipper, an Excella Natulon brushed metal zipper and a sew-on button to use on nylon garments. All are made with Econyl, which can be continuously recycled without loss of quality.
“YKK understands circular fashion as a regenerative system where garments are circulated for as long as their maximum value is retained, and then returned safely to the biosphere,” said Hitoshi Yamaguchi, president of YKK Italy. “Not only do we want to optimize the use of raw materials and increase the recycled content, but we also work to understand the end of life of the garments and verify the compatibility between our proposals and their subsequent recycling.”
The collection builds off YKK’s Natulon range, which includes materials made from PET bottles, old fiber and other polyester remnants. In a sustainability report published in December, the trims manufacturer reported that 10,000 Natulon zippers of approximately 23 inches in length give new life to 3,600 recycled plastic bottles. YKK increased its Natulon zipper sales by 88 percent in 2021, bolstering its effectiveness. Looking ahead, it plans to increase its waste recycling rate to 90 percent and shift entirely to sustainable textile materials by 2030.
“As a small part of the supply chain, we firmly believe that circularity is the key to building sustainability,” Yamaguchi said. “This is our motivation when we design the highest quality recycled and recyclable fastener products.”
The range is a part of the YKK Spring/Summer 2023 Collection, and available to the European market.