Nylon is one of the top best fabrics used widely in the fashion industry. It has become so popular that it is used in 60 percent of apparel. Its durability and affordability make it more popular. But it’s still a synthetic fiber that means man-made fabric, which is a type of plastic. When we see it as plastic, we might think that, is nylon biodegradable?
Is Nylon Biodegradable?
Nylon is a non-biodegradable fabric that takes years to decompose. Moreover, industrialists use different chemicals to make them more durable by increasing their lifetime. This helps nylon last longer because it takes a very long time to degrade.
Today, we will discuss nylon as it is non-biodegradable, so how long will it take to degrade and its consequences on the environment.
Is Nylon Eco Friendly?
Nylon is not eco-friendly because it is considered the top contributor to environmental pollution. As you know, it is a type of plastic that take decades to decompose. Research conducted in 2017 revealed that it takes a lot of energy to manufacture nylon. During its manufacturing process, greenhouse gasses are released, contributing to increasing the planet’s temperature.
How Long Does It Take To Decompose Nylon?
Nylon has been used in most household items, making it the most commonly used fabric globally. Despite its use, we have forgotten about the nylon decomposition process because nylon takes 30 to 40 years to decompose in landfills.
Nylon’s Impacts On The Environment
Nylon negatively impacts the environment when it’s manufactured and after production. Here we will discuss the different impacts of nylon on the environment.
Pre Consumer Impacts
Nylon is derived from petroleum, and you already know that petroleum-derived products are not environmentally friendly. Petroleum extraction takes a lot of energy after this manufacturing process of nylon uses plenty of water.
After usage, contaminated water is released into streams, rivers, and oceans, leading to the death of aquatic life. Numerous harmful chemicals containing dyes are being used in the manufacturing process, which is more lethal than contaminated water. Nylon is mainly manufactured in China, India, and Indonesia, where fewer steps are taken to protect their environment.
Nylon also requires acid in its manufacturing process, like adipic acid and diamine acid, which in return release nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is the biggest cause of global warming because it is 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
Post Consumer Impacts
Nylon is plastic, which means it looks like a natural fabric but remains plastic. Washing your nylon clothes releases numerous microplastic on each wash. These microplastics travel with water to the oceans, where aquatic life consumes them. These can cause choking hazards and many more, leading to their death. If this keeps going, we will lose a significant portion of aquatic life one day. Not only marine life but animals also drink water from the streams where we damp most of our waste.
Nylon Impacts On Humans’ Health
Although nylon is health-friendly, there are still numerous concerns raised when discussing nylon’s impacts on human health. Nylon production involves the usage of multiple dyes made from harmful chemicals. Apparel industries check it out thoroughly, but numerous traces are still present on the clothes that could get into the human body through food or water, causing several health issues.
People having sensitive skin must avoid nylon clothes because of their specific features, which make them harmful to them.
At high temperatures, nylon first melts and then starts burning, so if you are in an area where the temperature is higher than the nylon bearing point, leave it because nylon might melt and stick to your skin, causing a burning sensation.
How To Reduce Nylon’s Negative Impacts On The Environment?
If you want to clean your environment by removing all the pollutants, start with your clothes because most of your clothes are manufactured from nylon or nylon blends. So, it’s better to use alternatives to nylon that have fewer negative impacts on the environment than nylon.
Sustainable Alternatives To Nylon
A few of the sustainable alternatives to nylon that are much environmentally friendly and have some of the properties relating to nylon are as follows;
Discarded nylon is either dumped into oceans or in open areas where it starts killing the organisms as they are one of the biggest pollutants on this planet. So, instead of manufacturing new nylon by using petroleum products, we can use items manufactured from discarded or recycled nylon because it requires less energy and chemicals.
Using recycled nylon will reduce the nylon waste and keep circulating by manufacturing different products until we can’t use it anymore. Though recycled nylon might have many negative impacts, they are still less than the original one.
Bio nylon might be the best alternative because it is derived from organic materials such as sugar canes and maize. It doesn’t involve crude oil or any other harmful material. These are also called bioplastics and can be considered better and preferable than pure synthetic nylon.
Econyl is one of the best alternatives to nylon manufactured from waste material and has fewer negative impacts. Econyl doesn’t have negative impacts on human health. It is 100 percent recyclable and mainly manufactured using fishing nets, carpets, fabric scrap, etc.
Nylon is non-biodegradable as it is manufactured by using lots of harmful chemicals and crude oil. Plastics usually take years to degrade; the same nylon does because it takes decades to decay. They are one of the most significant contributors to environmental pollution.