The ISPO Textrends judges have selected YKK’s DynaPel™ water-repellent zipper as the best product in the accessories category. The competition, held twice a year in conjunction with the ISPO trade show, recognizes the most innovative performance textiles, components and apparel.
Designed to be compatible with garment recycling systems, the DynaPel zipper uses Green Theme Technologies EMPEL® technology instead of the standard polyurethane (PU) film to achieve its water repellency. The lack of a PU film helps remove one of the barriers of textile-to-textile recycling of performance apparel by eliminating the urethane material, which presents challenges to garment recycling processes.
“Receiving an ISPO Textrends Award helps validate the technology and our efforts to develop fasteners for circular systems,” says Terry Tsukumo, vice president, product strategy division, Global Sales Headquarters, YKK Corporation. “By employing EMPEL technology, we can achieve the robust water protection expected from YKK® products while eliminating the challenges that PU poses to recycling systems.”
Conventional chemical and mechanical garment recycling systems cannot process the polyurethane film commonly used on water-repellent zippers, necessitating the removal of zippers from garments before recycling. This additional processing step often deters recyclers from accepting garments with PU zippers, resulting in unnecessary waste.
EMPEL technology uses green chemistry devoid of PFAS and a specialized manufacturing process that allows the chemistry to penetrate the yarn and encapsulate it with a water-repellent layer through molecular cross-linking. The molecular cross-linking creates an extremely durable layer that is highly resistant to abrasion and invisible to the eye.