NZ company turns fishing nets into carpets

NZ company turns fishing nets into carpets

The fishing and carpet industries may seem worlds apart, but one is feeding the other.

A New Zealand company is the first in Australasia to use nylon sourced from old fishing nets to make its carpet. The Italian product has a much lower carbon footprint than virgin nylon, and is helping save marine life.

New Zealand company Cavalier Bremworth is launching a carpet made from Econyl.

"It's different, it's new and also it's the only - we believe - 100 percent sustainable fibre in the market, and we wanted to be part of it," says chief executive Paul Alston.

Econyl thread contains around 25 percent fishnet nylon. The nets are collected from fish farms, and volunteers dive for discarded "ghost" nets which can trap and kill marine life.

This is the first time Econyl has been used in carpet manufacturing in Australasia.

Overseas, the product is also used by large clothing companies looking to reduce their impact on the environment. They include Levi Strauss and pro surfer Kelly Slater's clothing line.

The textile industry is an enormous contributor to pollution and waste worldwide. In New Zealand alone, around 100 million kilograms of textiles end up in landfill each year.

The Italian company behind Econyl says its product has half the carbon footprint of virgin nylon made from oil, and can be recycled endlessly.

"Our aim is to become a recycler of nylon instead of a producer of nylon," says Fabrizio Calenti of Aquafil.

Cavalier Bremworth hopes to increase its use of the recycled nylon over time too, if consumers get behind the carpet with a smaller environmental impact and a good backstory.