SEAQUAL™, the eco-friendly fibre cleaning up the ocean

19 June 2018

Revolutionising textiles: in 2016, the Spanish firm Seaqual 4U embarked on a groundbreaking 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’s 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. 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!

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.

An ever-growing range

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 9 July at 11.00 am.

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