Materiales

"We are proud of using the least amount of natural resources as possible (materials, energy & transport)"

Since 2009 our goal is to reduce the consumption of natural resources, that’s why we decided to use recycled materials, such as synthetic nylon & polyester, that come from recycled sources and can be recycled many times. Global Recycling Standard (GRS) guarantees that all the fabrics we use come from recycled sources. Ecoalf is a GRS certified brand.

OUR OCEAN YARN

80% of ocean waste can be found in the bottom of the ocean. The ECOALF foundation was born in 2015 through the Upcycling the Oceans project which today has united more than .000 fishermen across more than 60 ports in Spain, Greece, Italy and France. The aim of this project is to collect marine waste from bottom of the ocean with the help of fishermen and give plastic waste a second through recycling, and therefore close the loop.

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0-RELEASE YARN

Every year, approximately half a million tonnes of microplastics end up in the ocean, simply from washing synthetic materials. The revolutionary Meryl® knit is made up of 50% nylon and uses hydrogen bonds to seal in the microfibres and prevent microplastic pollution.

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“Approximately 640,000 tonnes of fishing nets end up in the oceans every year”

RECYCLED NYLON

The use of recycled nylon drastically reduces the number of steps in the production process compared with conventional production processes when using regular nylon. This reduction in the production process directly leads to a reduction in CO2 and water consumption. Recycled nylon can be recycled once more when the garments reach the end of their lifecycle.

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Even though our favourite form of recycled nylon come from fishing nets, we also include nylon from the leftovers from our production. For the garments made from thread derived from fishing nets we collaborate with ECONYL®.

This regenerated nylon thread is made from discarded fishing nets (25%), carpet remains (25%), and leftovers from pre-production nylon (50%). All this waste is collected and transformed into a new thread which has the same characteristics as virgin nylon, whilst preventing the consumption of natural resources needed to obtain virgin nylon. Using this thread, we fight against ghost nets that represent 10% of marine waste.

Many marine species, including turtles, sharks, whales, and dolphins get trapped in stray fishing nets. From 2000 to 2012, the National Service of Marine Fishing confirms that an average of 11 whales get trapped in stray fishing nets along the western coast of the EE.UU. Studies indicate that fishing nets take more than 600 years to breakdown in the ocean, and all the while are a threat to marine life.

RECYCLED POLYESTER

By using recycled PET, we reduce water usage by 20%, energy consumption by 50% and CO2 emissions by 60% (values estimated for recycled PET vs conventional polyester). Recycled polyester can be recycled again, and for that reason it is a high value material in circular economy. At ECOALF we work with recycled polyester materials with different origins:

RECYCLED PET POLYESTER (post-consumer waste)

Most of the recycled polyester we use is made out of recycled plastic water bottles (PET _ Polyethylene Terephthalate). These bottles are recycled with a mechanical process that first transforms them into flakes and pellets to then be spun to high-quality yarn.

RECYCLED PET POLYESTER FROM THE SEA (post-consumer waste)

The Ecoalf Foundation was born in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015, leading the Upcycling the Oceans project with one goal, to save the planet and the oceans. Currently collaborates with more than 3000 fishermen over 50 ports, leading to more than 550 fishing vessels. We spent more than 2 years developing the technology to transform the plastic from the ocean into high-quality yarn. We are working with our mills to change the conventional recycled polyester into this new yarn made out of recycled plastic from the Oceans. Only 5 to 10% of the collected trash is PET, this is the only material we can transform into high-quality yarn. As part of our mission to protect our oceans and to fight marine litter, we are collecting and guaranteeing the proper management of 100% of the waste collected. We want to use our voice and the fishermen’s voices to raise the awareness for on ocean conservation.

RECYCLED POLYESTER FROM GARMENTS (post-industrial and post-consumer waste)

Currently we are seeking and testing a new technology that allows our suppliers to transform old garments into recycled yarn to create recycled fabrics for our collections. Unfortunately, this innovative technology is not yet available to most of our suppliers, but we already have some products made of used garments.

To date, we have recycled more than 275 million plastic bottles.

A POST-CONSUMER COFFEE GROUNDS FINISH

Thanks to the collaboration we have with the company holding the patent for transforming coffee grounds into pellets with technical properties, we are able to give our garments finishes that would otherwise require chemical treatments.

These properties are: Fast drying. UV-protection & odor control.

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The coffee grounds are collected every day from cafeterias and go through a process in which the first step is to remove the moisture using pressure and drying. That’s where the coffee grounds are separated from the oil that will be used for cosmetics. The coffee powder is then pressed, compacted and converted into pellets that are mixed with the PET or nylon pellets (both always recycled). Coffee grounds themselves cannot be converted into yarn, which is why they need to be combined with fabrics. This way, we obtain yarn that naturally contains all the properties coffee can give, without using chemicals.

RECYCLED COTTON

About 3% of the world’s surface is used for cotton production. More than half of cotton fields are irrigated artificially and up to 90% of the water used is drinkable.

One of the major environmental impacts of the textile sector comes from cotton because of its extensive use of water during its cultivation, as well as in its production.

The production of cotton is often located in developing countries, where the population already has problems accessing safe drinking water. However, the water is still used for irrigation purposes.

Mar de Aral 1989-2008

One example is the Aral Sea, located between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, which, in its prime, was the fourth biggest lake on the planet, but now it has completely dried up. Its road to extinction started in the 80s, when its water was diverted to be used on certain agricultural varieties, above all, for the production of cotton.

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La destrucción del Mar de Aral ha sido nombrado “uno de los mayores desastres medioambientales del planeta” y la industria de la moda ha sido una parte de este problema debido a los billones de metros cúbicos de agua que requiere cada año.

We favor cotton, but it is a water & chemical intensive fiber and we cannot compromise future generations’ access to water due to our current cotton production.

Reduce Water Footprint

We assume the responsibility for our water footprint and we do our best to minimize it. We believe Recycled Cotton can be the solution, and this is why at Ecoalf we have spent years working on the development of high-quality recycled cotton.

Reach the best recycled cotton

But the truth is that the process of recycling cotton is very complex. Reaching the quality that meets our standards has already cost us more than three years of research and development. We know that creating the best quality of recycled cotton on the market can be decisive for the reduction of our products’ water footprint and we will keep on augmenting the use of this type of material. The recycling of the cotton fiber is a mechanical process. It starts with post industrial waste that is created in the weaving and cutting processes. The fabrics go through different processes where they are torn until a fiber that can be spun again is won. This fiber is shorter than the virgin cotton fiber and the resulting yarn is irregular and harsh. This primarily affects the final feel of the fabric as it will be rough. To neutralize this effect, we are working with different finishes to ameliorate the feel by making the fabric softer and more similar to conventional cotton.

Reduce dyeing process

Another important fact is that, by using recycled cotton, we can already achieve the desired color of the garment by simply mixing fibers of the same color. In doing so, we skip the dyeing process and reduce the amount of water used.

RECYCLED WOOL

We have chosen recycled wool as an alternative to conventional wool.

Recycled wool is a material that has already been used for a long time. Countries like Spain and Italy have a tradition of making fabrics from recycled wool. Wool is recycled through the same mechanical process used for cotton.

To achieve this, we are working in two camps:

Choosing raw materials (post-industrial wool)

of the highest quality that allows us to have the best result in the final product.

Working on sustainable and innovative finishing processes

that improves the final characteristics of the fiber, thereby achieving a softer and lighter feel

RECYCLED TIRES

The ECOALF flip flopsare unique because of their innovative production process. They are the result of two years of R&D and innovation through the collaboration with Signus and the Technological Centre for Shoes of La Rioja (CTCR).

This product has been 100% eco-designed, developed and produced in Spain.

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The process of recycling tires is very complicated as the tires are made up of a combination of various materials such as textiles and metals that must be separated through complex processes. Once we manage to separate the rubber from the rest of the materials, we get a powder with an exact granulometry, special conditions allow us to compact it into slabs only using heat and precision – without using any glue or other types of adhesives. A completely new process where no materials outside of the tire are added.

However, this material does have a few restrictions. One is the smell which we have managed to neutralize by using nanotechnology. Another drawback of rubber is its colour. It is always black, and we cannot dye it in anyway, so instead we added a foamy layer of EVA which brings colour to the final product in a convenient manner. The strips from virgin rubber also contain 30% of recycled rubber, generated through the production processes of the same factory.

KAPOK

Kapok is a type of fruit that can be picked from the tree and turned into a soft silky fiber. The tree has a lifespan of 25 years and the organic kapok is mixed with organic cotton to save over 4,000 liters of water per T-shirt.

RECYCLED CASHMERE

There are only a few regions in the world that can produce cashmere. As more people seek the soft and cozy fiber, the grasslands become over-grazed and barren. To preserve this precious fiber and make the most of our resources, we used recycled cashmere for our spring sweaters.

LINEN

Linen is a lightweight material, but also one of the strongest fabrics which allows it to last for many years. It is a low-impact material that consumes little water during its cultivation and one hectare of flax can take 3.7 tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

"All our decisions have to be made with the goal of making the less harm possible to the planet and local communities."