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YKK Wants to Save the Ocean One Zipper at a Time

Working to address the problem of marine plastic, component company YKK announced its new Natulon Ocean Sourced collection of zippers made from “ocean bound” plastic. The collection of zippers is made from plastic waste that has been collected off the coastline of Sri Lanka, where waste management systems are not fully functional.

Natulon Ocean Sourced zipper tape offers the same strength, durability and functionality as conventional zippers made from virgin polyester, YKK said. At the same time, the new product is helping the company achieve its goal of further reducing carbon emissions in its manufacturing processes. The zippers require less energy to product than virgin materials. Globally, YKK reports it has achieved an 8 percent reduction in carbon emissions since 2013 at its production sites.

YKK will present the new concept this month at ISPO Munich in Germany and Outdoor Retailer in Denver. The collection will be available for purchase this spring.

YKK takes on ocean plastic.

The diversion of ocean bound plastic from waterways and waste streams helps to address the environmental crisis occurring in the world’s oceans and reflects YKK’s efforts to become more sustainable.

“YKK has a long history of environmental stewardship, which is an integral part of our ‘Cycle of Goodness’ philosophy,” said Takashi Tsukumo, vice president of YKK Corporation’s global marketing group, referencing the company’s core values.

Natulon Ocean Sourced is the latest addition to YKK’s portfolio of eco-innovation. The company created the first zipper made from recycled PET bottles and polyester remnants more than 25 years ago.

YKK’s sustainable components includes the GreenRise zipper, the first in the industry to use plant-based polyester, thereby achieving a 30 percent reduction in petroleum usage; organic cotton zippers; and the original Natulon zipper, which recycles approximately 3,600 plastic bottles per 10,000 zippers.

The company also offers zippers made using Eco-Dye, a dyeing technology that eliminates water from the dyeing process, and sustainable snaps and buttons made using Acro-Plating, a plating technology that uses fewer resources to manufacture and does not use harmful plating chemicals.

Last year, YKK announced plans to launch Environmental Vision, a long-term direction for environmental initiatives like water conservation, climate change and renewable resources. The program will go into effect in April 2021.