The clothing, backpack and sunglasses above were made from Econyl, a virgin quality yarn made from recycled nylon 6 found in carpets. Econyl can be recycled again and again, and be used to make designer clothing.

What happens to your old carpet when you have new carpet installed? Do you even think about it besides being glad the installers take the old carpet away?

If you have thought about it, you probably guessed that the old carpet goes to a landfill, and you would be correct. What else can be done with it?

When Aquafil CEO Guilio Bonazzi sees a landfill, he sees a goldmine. Aquafil was once a traditional yarn producer but now is one of the leading circular economy companies in the world.

Bonazzi says that in a circular economy industry, everything should be manufactured with the end in mind.

For example, carpet should be made of materials that can be broken down and reused.

In December 2018, Aquafil, an Italian company, opened its first carpet recycling facility in the U.S., in Phoenix. This facility is expected to turn 36 million pounds of old carpets per year back into raw materials for other goods.

According to Aquafil USA President Franco Rossi, 3.5 billion pounds of carpets are sent to landfills each year in the U.S.

The Aquafil Carpet Recycling facility will break down old carpeting into three main components: polypropylene, which will go into the injection molding industry; calcium carbonate, that will go to applications such as road construction; and nylon 6.

Nylon 6 will be shipped to Slovenia where a depolymerization facility will convert it into Econyl yarn.

Aquafil recycles 100 percent of the carpeting it processes, doing so in a way that allows the new, virgin quality yarn to be used for high-end products like clothing.

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The Econyl produced eliminates the need for new nylon fiber made from petroleum products. It can be recycled again and again.

Econyl is already being used in the fashion industry by many companies, including Speedo and Adidas, and can be used to make new carpets.

It is used in high-end designer clothing and handbags, sportswear, swimwear and outdoor apparel, and it is all made from recycled, regenerated nylon.

The company plans another carpet recycling facility in Woodland, California, in 2019.

Contact Johanna Eubank at


Johanna Eubank is a digital producer for the Arizona Daily Star and She has been with the Star in various capacities since 1991.