Revolutionising textiles: in 2016, the Spanish firm Seaqual 4U embarked on a ground- breaking programme to help protect aquatic habitats. Seaqual 4U’s first step was to design an all-new fibre from plastic waste retrieved from the ocean depths. Processed into continuous and discontinuous yarn, this fibre was an instant hit in the textile industry, spearheading a new, virtuous economy
Ridding the ocean bed of the plastic waste that is asphyxiating it: such is the mission that Seaqual 4U set itself two years ago. It is an important issue: every year, 8 million tonnes of waste finds its way into the sea. That’s the equivalent of one skip of waste a minute(1). 80% of this waste sinks to the ocean depths, breaking up into nano-particles which are then ingested by fish mistaking them for plankton. It is a grave threat to the ocean’s natural balance. And it is getting worse: if we don’t change our habits, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050 (2)!
Since 2016, Seaqual 4U’s 400 partner fishing boats have been retrieving this waste. This waste is then upcycled into fibre and continuous and discontinuous yarn that boasts all the properties of virgin polyester. But with a much smaller eco-footprint: producing it requires up to 20 % less water, 40 % less energy and 50 % fewer CO2 emissions. Seaqual 4U has thus developed a virtuous chain from fishermen to consumer that involves the entire supply chain (Spinners-Weavers-Brands), encouraging the cleaning up of marine waste and the production of eco-friendly yarn, fibre and fabric. Thus, with the collection of waste from the Spanish coast, for each kilo of fibre produced, a kilo of waste is removed from the ocean.
Suitable for ready-to-wear, sportswear, denim, swimsuits and hosiery, the range of continuous yarn includes yarn counts of 50, 78 and 167 decitex. It can be woven, or knitted on circular or seamless machines. SEAQUAL™ also offers a wide range of discontinuous yarns, from 10 to 70 nm, which can be mixed with natural fibres such as organic cotton, Lyocell, eco-certified viscose, wool and linen, to create blends with varying properties and handles. Mindful of its commitments to the textile sector, Seaqual 4U works exclusively with two licensed Spanish spinners: Antex, for continuous yarn, and Vich- Gerona Textil for discontinuous yarn.
Increasing numbers of weaving mills on board
From the moment it was launched, SEAQUAL™ sparked great interest, meeting a need among weavers to embrace eco-friendly production methods.
Brands and manufacturers soon followed suit, using SEAQUAL™ in their knit, woven and seamless collections, for tops, T-shirts, swimsuits, upmarket linings, Oxford quality shirts, twill and piqué, outerwear, bags, footwear, textile accessories etc. This wide variety of end uses amply proves SEAQUAL™’s suitability for all textile applications.
In keeping with the ‘Eco Friendly” theme at the INTERFILIERE Paris trade fair, SEAQUAL™ will be on display at its Innovation Forum as well as participating in the conference ‘Sustainable development and eco-friendliness: new challenges for the industry’ on Monday July 9, at 11.00 am.
(1) Source: ISWA (International Solid Waste Association)
(2) Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Seaqual 4U was founded in 2016 with the aim of setting up a virtuous economic model to tackle marine pollution, starting with the upcycling of plastic marine waste into continuous and discontinuous yarns. To achieve this, the Seaqual 4U brand fibre has acted as a catalyst for clean-up initiatives, getting the entire textile industry on board and inspiring consumers. Fabrics and garments achieved using this yarn thus contribute to this virtuous economy.
400 partner fishing boats in the Mediterranean. New spots in the Atlantic. New initiatives in Europe, Asia and America planned for 2019.
The “Eco Friendly” theme at the INTERFILIERE Paris trade fair, SEAQUAL™ will be on display at its Innovation Forum, as well as participating in the conference “Sustainable development and eco-friendliness: new challenges for the industry” on Monday July 9 at 11.00 am.