Nylon- A Bit of Recycled History

World War II Nylon Recycling

Nylon today is found in everything from fabric to fasteners.

Used first commercially for the bristles in toothbrushes, then introduced as fabric at the 1939 New York World's Fair, its next prominent use was as stockings during World War II after silk became scarce due to its use in parachutes. Nylon replaced silk in parachutes by the end of the war often from reprocessed nylon stockings. After the war, dresses were made from repurposed nylon parachutes because silk, cotton, and nylon were all in short supply.

Since World War II the repurposing and recycling of materials made from nylon and plastics has continued. Most manufacturers have found it cost effective to regrind or shred excess materials used in manufacturing their products and mix the regrind with virgin material and continue the process.

In use for over 75 years, manufacturers are constantly finding new uses for nylon. During those processes it will continue to be recycled and repurposed, made into useful products while saving energy and resources.

Photo: "The worn out nylon stockings in this barrel full of salvaged stockings will be reprocessed and made into parachutes... - NARA - 196427" by Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. (06/13/1942 - 09/15/1945), Photographer (NARA record: 1138532) - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_worn_out_nylon_stockings_in_t...