RECYCLED MATERIALS

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

RECYCLED POLYESTER

By using recycled PET we are reducing water consumption by 20% and energy consumption by 50%, CO2 emissions by 60%* (*Estimated data on recycled PET vs conventional polyester). Recycled polyester can be recycled again, which is why this material is highly valued in the circular economy.At ECOALF we work with recycled polyester of the following 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.
"OVER 200 MILLION PLASTIC BOTTLES RECYCLED SO FAR".

"1,4 MILLIONS PLASTIC BOTTLES RECYCLED WITH THIS FALL-WINTER 2020 COLLECTION, WHICH IS MADE OF 96% RECYCLED POLYESTER & 4% CONVENTIONAL POLYESTER".

RECYCLED NYLON

A lot of our down jackets are made with recycled nylon. Thanks to the most advanced technology, we are able to produce ultra-light and soft fabrics that make our garments recognisable. 

Recycled nylon drastically reduces the number of steps in the production process, when compared to the conventional processes used for nylon. This reduction of processes leads to a reduction in CO2 emissions and water consumption. Recycled nylon can be recycled again when the garments have reached the end of their active lives.

Even though our favorite quality of recycled nylon is the one stemming from fishing nets that were abandoned in the Oceans, this material remains scarce. This is why, in addition to nylon from fishing nets, we also use nylon made with the leftovers from production processes.

For those garments made from fishing nets we have a collaboration with ECONYL®.

This regenerated nylon yarn is made from discarded fishing nets (25%), scrapped carpeting (25%) and pre-consumer nylon waste (50%). All this trash is recovered and transformed into a new yarn that has the same characteristics as nylon made from virgin raw materials yet keeps new waste from entering the environment.

FACTS
By using this yarn we are fighting against the ghost fishing nets issue that represents 10% of marine litter. Many marine species including turtles, sharks, whales, dolphins, and dugongs become entangled in ghost nets. From 2000 to 2012, the National Marine Fisheries Services reported an average of 11 large whales entangled in ghost nets every year along the United States´ west coast. Estimates say it takes more than 600 years for ghost fishing nets to decompose in the ocean, and during those 600 years, it is a threat to marine life. By design, they restrict movement, so they will lacerate, infect, suffocate, and cause the animal to slowly starve to death.

"APPROX. 640.000 TONNES OF GHOST FISHING NETS END UP IN THE OCEAN EVERY YEAR".

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.

"WE NEED TO FIND A BALANCE BETWEEN OUR NEEDS AND THE PLANET’S HEALTH".

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.

+ INFO - ARAL SEA
The shrinking of the Aral Sea has been called "one of the planet's worst environmental disasters" and the fashion industry has been a part of this problem as it has been a part of the water crisis due to the billions of cubic meters of water it requires every year.

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.

Aral Sea 1989-2008

RECYCLED WOOL

We chose recycled wool as an alternative to conventional wool sourced directly from animals.

Recycled wool is a material that has already been in use for some years now. Countries like Spain and Italy have the tradition of making fabrics out of recycled wool. The wool is recycled via a mechanical process that is similar to the one used for cotton. Just like in the case of recycled cotton, the resulting fiber is of a lower quality than the conventional one. 

This is why regenerated wool has always been considered a material of low or secondary quality. Our objective is to elevate the quality of this material, so that it reaches the level of virgin wool. 

To achieve this, we are working on two areas:

1. Choosing raw materials (post-industrial wool)
of the highest quality that allows us to have the best result in the final product.
2. Working on sustainable and innovative finishing processes
that better the final characteristics of the fiber, thereby achieving a softer and lighter feel

"ALL OUR DECISIONS HAVE TO BE MADE WITH THE GOAL OF MAKING THE LESS HARM POSSIBLE TO THE PLANET AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES".

RECYCLED TIRES

Ecoalf’s flip flops are one of a kind. They are the result of 2 years of investing in R&D and innovation through a cooperation with Signus and the Technological Center for Shoes of La Rioja.

The recycling process of the tires is very complex because they contain various materials, like textiles and metals, that have to be separated in complicated processes. Once the rubber is separated from the rest of the elements, we obtain a powder with a specific grain size and conditions that allow us to convert it into flat wedges upon applying heat and pressure - without the use of any glue or adhesive material. A totally innovative process in which no external material other than that from the recycled tires is added. 

This is a product that is 100% developed and handmade in Spain.

+ INFO
This material, however, shows some limitations. One is its peculiar odor that we have been able to neutralize with the use of nanotechnology. Another limitation of rubber is its color. It is always black and cannot be dyed, which is why we have incorporated EVA foam sheets that give the final product color but also comfort and a light carbon footprint. The strips are made with virgin rubber but contain 30% recycled material made from production leftovers of the fabric.