YKK Addresses the Ocean Plastic Problem with NATULON® Ocean Sourced™ Zipper Collection

January 15, 2020 YKK

NATULON® Ocean Sourced™Working to address the problem of marine plastic, we are proud to announce our new NATULON® Ocean Sourced™ collection of zippers made from ocean bound plastic. This premium collection of zippers is made from plastic waste that has been collected within 50 km of the coastline of Sri Lanka. The NATULON® Ocean Sourced™ collection will debut at ISPO Munich from January 26-29, 2020 in Munich, Germany‎ and The Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show from January 29-31, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. The zippers will be available for purchase in Spring 2020.

“NATULON® Ocean Sourced™ zippers offer the high quality that people expect from YKK while addressing the environmental crisis in our oceans,” said Takashi Tsukumo, Vice President, YKK Corporation Global Marketing Group.  “Furthermore, the upcycling of ocean bound plastic into NATULON® Ocean Sourced™ zippers emits less CO2 and requires less energy to produce than zippers made out of virgin polyester.”

Indistinguishable from zippers made of virgin polyester, NATULON® Ocean Sourced™ offers the same strength, durability, and functionality as conventional zippers. At the same time, NATULON® Ocean Sourced™ is helping YKK achieve our goal of further reducing carbon emissions in its manufacturing processes. Globally, we have achieved a 6% reduction in carbon emissions since 2013 at our production sites.

With 80% of all plastic entering the ocean originating from land based sources,[1] preventing it from making its way to the ocean is the most effective way to eliminate marine plastic. The diversion of ocean bound plastic from waterways and waste streams helps to address the environmental crisis occurring in the world’s oceans.

Each year, it’s estimated that 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean.[2] Millions of birds, turtles, and fish are negatively impacted by plastic marine debris. Between 57,000 and 135,000 whales are entangled in discarded fishing nets and other plastic waste every year.[3] Plastic has even been found in the internal organs of fish and in our drinking water.

“YKK has a long history of environmental stewardship, which is an integral part of our “Cycle of Goodness” philosophy. Our Environmental Pledge was signed by our CEO in 1994, and we created NATULON®, the first zipper made from recycled PET bottles and polyester remnants, over 25 years ago. Today we offer a wide range of sustainable products and technologies. NATULON® Ocean Sourced™ is just the latest addition to our portfolio of eco-innovation,” says Tsukumo.

YKK’s collection of sustainable trims is aimed at reducing carbon emissions, toxic chemicals, and water use. In addition to NATULON® Ocean Sourced™, the collection features the GreenRise™ zipper, the first in the industry to use plant-based polyester, thereby achieving a 30% reduction in petroleum usage, YKK’s organic cotton zippers, and YKK’s original NATULON® zipper, which recycles approximately 3,600 plastic bottles (29 g/bottle) per 10,000 zippers (60 cm length). Also included in the collection are zippers made using YKK’s ECO-DYE® dyeing technology, which has completely eliminated the usage of water in the dyeing process, and environmentally friendly snaps and buttons made using AcroPlating™, a new plating technology that uses fewer resources to manufacture and does not use harmful plating chemicals.

[1] Stemming the Tide: Land-based strategies for a plastic- free ocean. McKinsey & Company and Ocean Conservancy. 2015. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/stemming-the-tide-land-based-strategies-for-a-plastic-free-ocean

[2] Plastics in the Ocean. Jordana Merran - https://oceanconservancy.org/trash-free-seas/plastics-in-the-ocean/

[3] Ocean Plastic - https://www.parley.tv/oceanplastic#parley-air-strategy-1

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