Environmental awareness, leading to an emphasis on the value of recycling materials, a green lifestyle and zero emissions is one of the most urgent contemporary issues for fibre producers and final consumers. Fulgar, an Italian company, is the international leader in the production of nylon and coated yarns. Through its Research and Development section the company is constantly developing and implementing cutting edge product solutions with a low environmental impact
The latest sustainable innovation in new products by Fulgar is Q-NOVA® MELANGE RECYCLED, a special fibre created by blending Q-NOVA®, a 6.6 nylon fibre created using regenerated raw materials, with a polyester produced entirely from reused plastic bottles.
Using totally recycled materials in no way affects the performance of the fabrics.
A totally effective synthesis of functionality and aesthetic appeal, Q-NOVA® MELANGE RECYCLED yarns provide outstanding colour resistance for colours with long-lasting brilliance. What’s more, they give the fabric the comfort and easycare performance that is vital in all the sectors they are designed to offer a solution for – total stretch, softness, light weight, quick drying, excellent breathability, resistance to peeling and non-iron fabric care.
Fulgar’s typical Jaspé and Pulsar effects adapt perfectly to new textile technologies, presenting the opportunity to develop multicolour fabrics through a single controlled, continuous one-step process in the dyeing stage. Both effects enable the creation of yarns with different looks – with JESPÉ, the line is short and regular, while with PULSAR the melange feature is longer, with a more pronounced shot effect.
The two types of yarn create bi-colour effects on a perfectly uniform neutral base.
LCA – Life Cycle Assessment
FULGAR completes its path to sustainability by entrusting the environmental impact assessment of the whole process of its product production to the accredited scientific method LCA – Life Cycle Assessment.
Informed environmental conduct, focused on the conservation and enhancement of the ecosystem. This is one of the cardinal principles that defines the philosophy of Fulgar, an outstanding Italian company and leading European manufacturer of nylon and covered yarns.
The company’s philosophy is constantly renewed in its strategic product lines and is clearly reflected by its recent decision to evaluate its individual finished products and indeed the entire production cycle through the rigorous LCA Life Cycle Assessment, an accredited process that is internationally standardized by the ISO 14040 and 14044 standards.
Fulgar’s timely decision to undergo the LCA – Life Cycle Assessment study is consistent with the company’s attention to responsible development. Over the years, the company has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to eco-efficiency with the technological renewal of its production facilities, the construction of new areas and the search for new materials and new processing solutions.
“Today more than ever, a company’s competitiveness is measured by its “reputation”, a complex mix of different factors, in which ethical considerations, such as environmental sustainability, play an increasingly important role. The contemporary consumer is aware and informed. They want to orient their buying decisions around products that are deemed “clean” in every aspect of their life cycle,” explains Alan Garosi, Fulgar’s Marketing Manager. “The data collection and analysis of all the life stages of the product, a process which characterizes the LCA – Life Cycle Assessment study, allows us to consider and improve our strategy, both in terms of the environment and production performance, and also offers us the possibility to give a clear and precise vision of the environmental impact of our yarns to the final brands and large distribution chains.”
Through the impact assessment (LCA – Life Cycle Impact Assessment), it is possible to determine the scale of the impact generated as a result of releases into the environment and the extent of the consumption of resources resulting from production activity.
In particular, for Fulgar, the production stages of three specific products were examined: the Fulgar Nylon 6,6 yarn, a fibre obtained though the standard production cycle and two yarns that represent Fulgar’s innovation and textile research more than any other: Q-NOVA® and EVO®. Subjecting these three types of polyamide fibres to the Analysis of the Lifecycle (from the production of raw materials to the texturing stage), means obtaining an overall assessment of the entire “Fulgar system”, which takes all the variables, such as technologies, materials and processes, into account.
The data examined in the LCA report refers to annual production and considers “inflows” such as the consumption of water, electricity and renewable energy sources and “outflows” such as products and coproducts, waste water, air emissions, waste production and transport.
All the process stages for which it was possible to carry out data collection relate to the production of 1 kg of PA 6.6 textured yarn. The results obtained from the analysis of the three Fulgar products have made it possible to compare the polyamide fibres Nylon 6,6, EVO® and QNOVA® with other categories of fibres and yarns, highlighting the real advantage in terms of reduced environmental impact.
From the study, it emerges that cotton is highly polluting – with percentages of impact between 60 % and 80 % higher compared to other categories of fiber and yarn – due to very high water consumption during the cultivation stage. This is followed by polyester, viscose and acrylic fiber. In fact, one of the fibres with the least environmental impact proves to be polyamide, which can be defined as among the most eco-friendly.
The analysis of the lifecycle of Fulgar Nylon 6,6, EVO® and QNOVA® showed that the polymer with the lowest environmental impact is definitely Q-NOVA® in all impact categories and in terms of consumption of the resources considered (see table below).
Complete list of impact categories included in the LCA study
Below are the final figures relating mainly to air pollution in terms of CO2 x kg produced (or GPW – Global Potential Warming) of the three Fulgar polyamide yarns:
• Q-NOVA® impact of approximately 1.77 kg CO2 eq.
• EVO® impact of approximately 7.36 kg CO2 eq.
• Fulgar nylon 6,6 impact of approximately 9.97 kg CO2 eq.
Italian Fulgar is the international leader in the man-made fibre market with the production and distribution of polyamide 6.6 and covered elastomers in the textile and technical sector. Founded in the 1970s at Castel Goffredo (Mantova) in the heart of Italy’s hosiery district, Fulgar carved out a role as sector leader and now boasts Europe’s largest nylon 6.6 yarn factory. The company’s global attitude is also reflected by the internationalization strategy launched by Fulgar with the opening of new production centers in Sri Lanka in 2003 and Serbia in 2007, as well as being present in Turkey with the official Fulgar distributor FFT. Fulgar is present in all textile sectors, from hosiery to circular knits, corsetry, swimming and sport, with high-quality products that stand out for their excellence and uniqueness, without ever forgetting the Made in Italy textile tradition. The great versatility of the products is the result of Fulgar’s design, development and manufacturing structure, which always remains aware of the look, functionality and comfort clients require. That’s why the company is constantly increasing its investment in R&D, with a significant increase in the last three years, in parallel with a deep commitment to environmental issues that takes the form of projects and initiatives involving the entire production process.
In 2009 Fulgar became an official partner of INVISTA®, owner of the LYCRA® brand, for the exclusive distribution in Europe and Turkey of the Lycra® Fibre, Lycra T400® and Elaspan® Fibre brands. In 2012 Fulgar also became exclusive distributor and producer of Emana® fibre, owned by the Rhodia- Solvay group, for Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
If we pause to analyse these results, it is clear that the two eco- innovations significantly contribute to a drop in CO2/kg eq emissions in the atmosphere.
The study confirms that QNOVA®, whose production is characterized by a mechanical, non-chemical recycling system with a zero kilometer supply chain, has a very low environmental impact in terms of C02 emissions. EVO®, though it is based on a natural material, reveals impact levels that are well below average. Finally, polyamide 6.6, which represents Fulgar’s production standard, is shown to have an environmental impact that is lower than other yarns.
To give an immediate example that makes it easier to understand the real meaning of the findings from the LCA study and from the comparison of the data, we can consider the production of a t-shirt. For the creation of a t-shirt, an estimated 250 g of material is required. If it were produced, as a raw material without considering the downstream stages, in virgin Nylon 6.6 produced by Fulgar, at the level of raw material it would have an impact of around 2.49 kg CO2 eq; the same t- shirt made from EVO® yarn would have an impact of 1.84 Kg CO2 eq (-26 % emissions), while the Q-NOVA® fibre would have an impact of only 0.44 Kg CO2 eq. (-82 % emissions).
One very topical and extremely important aspect is water resources. The water consumption involved in cotton production is truly staggering: to produce 1 kg of cotton*, one of the most commonly used materials in the clothing industry, it takes a minimum of 7000 L of water and a maximum of 29000 L, with an average of around 18000 L of water per kg of cotton.
The solutions developed by Fulgar, the eco-innovations EVO® and Q-NOVA® as well as nylon 6.6, greatly reduce water consumption by introducing a substantial difference to the market. Producing the same amount of bio-based EVO® fiber can save up to 52 % litres of water per kg produced, while with nylon 6.6, the total water saving is even greater, equal to approximately 99% L less water per kg produced. Finally, the Q-NOVA® yarn, which is derived from a mechanical recycling system, saves almost the entirety – 99.9 % with a value equal to approximately 17983 litres water per kg produced.
As Alan Garosi reiterates: “for us, the LCA – Life Cycle Impact Assessment study is an eco-innovation tool that will allow us to further improve our environmental and economic performance and will enable us to ensure our customers distinct advantages in terms of transparency and full supply chain traceability.”
*This story first appeared on Textile Future
New platform allows industry to contribute and gain information on thousands of new materials in the Higg Index
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) has launched the Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) Contributor, a new addition to the Higg Index suite of tools that allows material suppliers and experts to submit apparel, footwear, and home textile material data into the Higg MSI. The MSI Contributor will allow SAC to expand data around materials sustainability to inform design, development and sourcing decisions for its more than 180 members – including designers and developers at some of the world’s most influential brands.
The Higg MSI provides a common lens for assessing materials impact on climate change, land use, water scarcity, resource depletion, eutrophication, and chemistry. “Sustainability measurement can only be achieved when the industry is speaking a common language,” saidJason Kibbey, CEO of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. “With the introduction of the MSI Contributor, we further the depth of that language, providing a baseline for thousands of materials that designers and the rest of the industry can use to make informed product decisions,” he said. “This is a key milestone in our roadmap to full industry transparency via the Higg Index in 2020.”
Once validated by the MSI Gatekeeper, the MSI Contributor submissions will be incorporated into the Higg MSI, a public tool relaunching in September that will allow users to see and compare scores for common materials in the apparel, footwear, and home textile industry. At launch, the Higg MSI will include 79 scored base materials (such as cotton, polyester, and EVA foam), and 225 additional production specifications (such as organic or bio-based fibers, weaving or knitting processes, or performance finishes) that can be used to get a more accurate score for a specific material. This results in more than 4000 scored materials, which SAC looks to rapidly expand with the MSI Contributor.
Through the MSI Contributor, the SAC expects that the entire industry will gain benefits in making more informed decisions around material use. Manufacturers will have a credible and comparable means to show how their responsible production processes reduce impact, allowing them to attract more brands committed to responsible sourcing.
“As a participating member of the SAC, INVISTA has been keen to ensure that the methodology used to assess material and product impacts is fair, unbiased and representative of actual environmental impacts associated with manufacture and consumer use of textile products,” said Francis Mason, Senior R&D Engineer of INVISTA. “This fundamental tool improvement will enhance the SAC reputation and Higg Tool adoption.”
According to Dr. Krishna Manda, Senior Advisor of Sustainability, Lenzing AG, “MSI Contributor will increase the functionality of the Higg Design & Development Module and supports brands in making meaningful decisions while designing products. This is a great platform to showcase the best sustainability practices of manufacturers which are duly verified by credible experts.”
The MSI Contributor marks another step in the evolution of Higg tools that promote data transparency, collaboration and systemic change across the industry. Soon, manufacturers and their brand and retailer customers will also be able to measure the overall environmental performance of their footwear, apparel and home textile products with the upcoming launch of the Design & Development Module (DDM) in the Fall.
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition welcomes industry review and contributions to the MSI Contributor at msicontributor.higg.org